Developing a Football Club - MyFootballClub

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Developing a Football Club - MyFootballClub

TURFMAGAZINE 02ROOTSBeforeFIFA Quality Concept for Football TurfAfterDeveloping a Football ClubAbove are two photographs from Stenhousemuir Football Club, Scotland. They show thebefore – when they had grass, and after – when they installed a FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR field. This development has strengthened the club while building further longterm strategic initiatives with the community. The installation of the Football Turf hasplayed a crucial role in their club strategy of being at the heart of the community.Find out more from 10 case studies featuring Football Turf.


ContentsPsychology and Coach Education 3This case study looks at the importance sportspsychology plays, and its ever-increasing role ininfluencing and maximising peak performancefor the professional player. The influential roleof the manager and coaching staff is essential inthe preparation of the player and the creation ofa positive state of mind for both the individualplayer and team.Win in Africa with Africa 6What do you need to play football? A ball,players and a pitch. Even if the first twoelements are easy to come by, the third is quiteoften problematic, especially in countries withmore extreme climates. As part of FIFA’s “Winin Africa with Africa” project, FIFA has decidedto do something to improve the situation. Thecase study outlines the positive impact that hasalready occurred.Oakville Soccer Club, Canada –Club and Community Development 9Oakville Soccer Club’s mission is to be acommunity soccer club providing a life longquality soccer experience that is valued by theplayers and families in Oakville. This case studyshows what developing facilities, such as theFIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf,have meant for the clubs continual growth– as the durability and quality of the surfaceis excellent.Stenhousemuir Football Club,Scotland – Club andCommunity Development 10Set out in this case study is the background tothe installation of the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf and the very strong financialbenefits which have arisen as a result. Afterthe installation of the Football Turf, the bondbetween community and club has become evenstronger.Woodley Sports Football Club,England – Club andCommunity Development 16Set out in this case study is a review of thefinancial scheme, how it was originally funded,what additional revenues have been generatedand what cost savings have been made.Furthermore, it looks at the cost and revenueprofile over 8 years and what this has meantfor the club in order to develop and forgestronger links with the immediate and moredistant communities.Kingsbrook College, England –Schools Football 22One of the key factors to “learning” is providingthe correct environment for children to maximisetheir potential and develop as a person. Thiscase study highlights the impact the FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf hasmade on the school, as well as pupils, teachersand the school’s community.Stade de Suisse, Switzerland –The Football Turf Strategy 24The stadium is home to BSC Young Boys whoparticipate in the Swiss Premier League. Thiscase study highlights the strategy, approachand reasoning they made before switching fromgrass to Football Turf and proves that FootballTurf is an ideal alternative for both football andbusiness.Kingsbrook College, England –The decision making process 26The case study highlights the college background,its choice of a FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf and the decision makingprocess behind their final decision. The casestudy is intended to help other schools,communities and Universities in making an“informed decision”.Technical Analysis,The Netherlands 31This study includes a technical analysis from34 football matches played in the DutchPremier League during the 2006-07 season.The analysis of games played on both FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf and topquality natural grass surfaces will enable usto further explore the fundamental question:Does the game change on Football Turf?Technical Analysis,FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 37Of the 52 contest games, 29 were played onFootball Turf and 23 on natural grass. 3 stadiumshad Football Turf and 3 stadiums grass. The studyis a comparative performance analysis of gamesplayed on Football Turf and natural grass surfaces.The evaluation stems from games played duringthe FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007.FIFA Quality Concept forFootball Turf 43This diagram highlights the process of theFIFA Quality Concept and how the FIFARECOMMENDED quality levels are awarded.


PSYCHOLOGY AND COACH EDUCATIONPsychology and Coach EducationThe importance of sports psychology isplaying an ever-increasing role in influencingand maximising peak performance forthe professional player. The line betweensuccess and failure is very thin andplayers who are mentally strong and havethe will to win stand a greater chanceof tasting success, than those only relyingon their physical and technical ability.The influential role, chiefly by managersand coaching staff, is essential in preparationof the player and the creation of apositive state of mind for both player andteam. Furthermore there can be “keyinfluencers” within the team group,as well as experienced players and acaptain, and it‘s important that theyall realise the influence and impactthey may have on their peers – whetherpositive or negative.IntroductionIn 2004 artificial turf surfaces were introducedinto the Laws of the Game. Thismeant that, over a period of time,more professional players would experiencethe new generation of artificial turfsurfaces – namely the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR and 2 STAR surfaces.An alternative not a substituteFIFA has always maintained that “FootballTurf” should be an alternative and nota substitute for top quality natural grass.However, top quality natural grass in theglobal environment is not always possible.This can be the case for various reasons:• Lack of sufficient finances to maintain agrass pitch in adverse climatic conditions.• Modern, spectator-friendly stadiadesign, which creates a micro-climateand makes it difficult to grow goodquality natural grass.• Club development and increased usethat has an impact on the durability ofthe surface.The aims of the FIFA QualityConcept for Football TurfThe objectives are to• create globally recognised standards• ensure global consistency• superior surface quality• ensured safety of players• install Football Turf in locationswhere usefulThe problem –Managing changeMany of the “key influencers” to playershad experienced a different generation ofartificial turf surfaces – the so-calledplastic pitches. This was mainly in Englandduring the 1980s – and very much a negativeexperience. However if these “negativeexperiences” are communicated to playerspreparing to play on Football Turf, in turnthis will mean that the players wouldnot be in the correct mental state, as anegative vibe has been created. Those whoplay football accept that defeat oftenstems from the inability to manage anxiety,fear, anger or despair. With the FIFARECOMMENDED Football Turf surfacesbeing more widespread and challenging,the former use and scepticism regardingartificial turf and the issues of anxiety,fear, anger and despair may become moreprevalent. Having a strong and committedcoaching philosophy that supports theuse and benefits of FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf playing surfaces will helpalleviate the potential fears and anxietyof professional players.Nigel FletcherNigel Fletcher led the psychology discussionconcerning the management of technologicalchange.He would like to thank the following for theirinput:• Prof Len Nokes (Cardiff University)• Dr. Eric Harrison (IndependentConsultant)• Bill Beswick (England Team Psychologist)• Barry McNeill, Ged Holmes,Blake Wooster (Pro Zone)• Gernot Zirngast (FIFPro)• Tony Strudwick (First Team Fitness Coach– Manchester United)• Lars Bretscher (FIFA)Coach education –Be positive rather than negative!If the team who is used to playing onnatural turf has to play away on a FIFARECOMMENDED Football Turf surface,it is important that the coach/manager andthe other influencers are positive ratherthan negative. Being positive ensures theplayers are prepared and provides a betterchance of winning! Malcolm Gladwell, theauthor of “Tipping Point”, stresses howmuch people are affected by their immediateenvironment and illustrates how positivethoughts can make a big difference.3


PSYCHOLOGY AND COACH EDUCATIONBill BeswickBill Beswick, team psychologist to England‘sNational team, and previously involved withPremier League Football in England withDerby County, Manchester United andMiddlesbrough says: “A sports psychologistcan spend an awful lot of time listening tocomplaints, I would rather get my retaliationfirst”.QUESTION: How can a coach or managerinform players about the FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf surfaces in an objective way,in order to create a positive mental state andteam atmosphere?ANSWER: INFORMATION• This can be the latest medical information,• but also objective technical informationand a performance analysis with thecomparison between natural grass andFootball Turf at professional levels – and• Player and Coach ExperienceFor the sake of every coach, manager orplayer, they must embrace technologicalinnovation and look at the positive changethat has taken place. Additionally, it isthe duty of the coach/manager to passon such information to his players.A useful source of information is FIFA‘Swebsite where all the latest researchis published on www.FIFA.com or emailfootball.turf@fifa.orgChanging coach and playerperceptionsOnly through the managerial and playingexperience will the barriers of the plasticpitch era of the 1980s be broken down andbe part of the past. For the successfulprocess of change, it has to occur naturallyand not be forced upon individuals.The Blackburn Rovers FC “FootballTurf” experienceBlackburn Rovers are in the English PremierLeague. There are no FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf surfaces in the professionalgame in England. However, during the2006/2007 UEFA Cup, Blackburn were drawnto play Red Bull Salzburg. This meant thatby playing away from home, Blackburnhad to play on the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf surface.The before and afterexperience –From negative to acceptableCoaches viewpointBefore“It isn’t something that you come up againstanymore. Ten or fifteen years ago – whenthey were first introduced – there were anumber of pitches you would have to preparefor now and again. And the one thingI do know is that the Red Bull Salzburg havea plastic pitch, so we‘d have to preparefor that. But thankfully we have a facilityhere that will probably match what theyhave to offer, so we’ll make use of it.”(Mark Hughes)After“A lot was made of the artificial pitch beforethe game, but Hughes felt that Tugay lovedthe surface.” (Lancashire Telegraph)“I think we coped with the surface very verywell, certainly Tugay thoroughly enjoyedthe surface and at times the Salzburg playerscouldn’t get near him.” (Mark Hughes)“The pitch wasn’t an issue for us.”(Mark Hughes)Players viewpointBeforeAlso the players had a perception of whatthey would face, as mentioned by fitnesscoach Tony Strudwick.1) Biggest threat to preparation washistorical prejudice2) Mismatch between turf experience attraining ground and the experienceat Red Bull Salzburg. Red Bull Salzburghad the FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARSurface, Blackburn Rovers training grounddid not.3) Tempo of passing difficult to replicate4) Unknown parameters lead to anxiety5) Player selection more akin to technicalcompetencesTony Strudwick, first team fitness coachat the time, and now in a similar role atManchester United, was a key individualin the successful attempt to control andmanage the process in order to generatea positive image for the players.4


PSYCHOLOGY AND COACH EDUCATIONThis included:• Eccentric Training to increase decelerationcapabilities. This included cutting andturning drills and high intensity pressingdrills.• Footwear education• Tempo control. For example the grass cutshort on 1st team training pitch to ensurespeed of the first pass. Use of indoorartificial turf. However, in hindsight, thiswas contradictory as the surfaces weredifferent.• Changing player perceptions. Reinforcingpositive mental images. Training atthe Red Bull Salzburg prior to the matchreinforced positive anchors.• Attention to detail during player selection.This included tactical and playerconsiderations.the overall perception of “Football Turf”and prevent any unfounded negativity.Even though most prefer “top qualitynatural grass”, it is important to be opento Football Turf.With the appropriate preparation, researchand coach education “Football Turf”could become an accepted playing surfacein professional football and represent apositive step forward for the game to beplayed consistently at the highest levelthroughout the world.AfterWith Tony Strudwick optimally preparingthe players and creating positive images andexperiences before the game, this certainlyhelped the team. The post match feedbackwas positive from the coaching and playingstaff and it was an enjoyable spectacle.The technical (pro zone research for FIFA)and physical analysis from Tony Strudwick’sexperience was also positive and acceptable.ConclusionPsychology and coach education has a significantrole to play in facilitating and supportingthe implementation of new technologysuch as “Football Turf” and in opposinginaccurate perceptions. As key influencers inthe game, managers, coaches and someplayers are instrumental in communicatingthe potential impact of “Football Turf”.The experience by Blackburn Rovers on FootballTurf clearly illustrates how the influenceof the manager and coaching staff can affect5


WIN IN AFRICA WITH AFRICAWin in Africa with AfricaWhat do you need to play football? A ball,players and a pitch. If two of the elementsare easy to come by, the third is often quiteproblematic, especially in countries withmore extreme climates. As part of FIFA’s“Win in Africa with Africa” project, FIFAhas decided to do something to improvethis situation. Between now and the start ofthe qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFAWorld Cup South Africa, 52 countriesthroughout the great continent – all themember countries with the exceptionof South Africa – will be equipped witha FIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turf.The start of the Win in Africa with Africa“artificial pitches” project was announcedin July 2006 by President Blatter at theMunich Congress. The total budget of theproject stands at close to $38 million USD.An invitation to tender has been issued toall licensees who are part of the FIFA QualityConcept for Football Turf.far less on FIFA RECOMMENDED FootballTurf surfaces than if compared to sustaininghigh quality natural grass pitches.There is also a political consideration.A country which does not participatein competitions or qualifying campaignsfor FIFA tournaments for more than twoyears, loses its right to vote in Congress.Previously, the deplorable quality ofcertain pitches has forced certain nationsto withdraw from international competitions,as was the case for Djibouti.Henceforth, this type of situation willno longer occur.One of the fundamental objectives ofthe Win in Africa with Africa project wasto help the African leagues and clubs toplay on better surfaces.A better spectacleThe quality of the game is decidedly betteron a FIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turfpitch than on a poorly maintained naturalpitch. This enables the country’s nationalteams to progress more quickly.It also helps national leagues to increasetheir revenues as the pitch can be hiredout for football and other activities.Also the “look and feel” of the FIFARECOMMENDED Football Turf is pleasingyear round, especially in a media andmarketing sense. The pitches can alsoinclude (alternate-shade) horizontal gridlines, as is common in the UK. This hasalready happened in Tanzania, Ethiopia,Mali, Madagascar and Mauritius. It is donefor aesthetic reasons, and therefore topromote television contracts and attractnew sponsors.Pitches for allThe goals of such a large-scale operationare multiple. However, the first objective isa basic one: to enable all footballers inAfrica to play on decent pitches. The capacityfor use of an artificial pitch vastly exceedsthat of a natural one, which must withstandthe ravages of an arid climate. On naturalturf, it is possible to play every three to fivedays in Africa. On FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf, this increases to about twomatches per day, plus training sessions.At long last, youth, as well as male andfemale national teams, will be able tohave equal playing time.The environmental impact is also a majorconsideration, specifically in terms ofpreserving natural resources. For instancewater – a rare and precious commoditythat can be very expensive in Africa, is usedThe positive impact– Before and afterCape Verde – beforeCape Verde – after6


WIN IN AFRICA WITH AFRICAStarting the ball rollingPerhaps better still, these projects have openedthe way to further initiatives due to thesuccess of the first FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf fields in Africa. Agreementshave been signed with governments, na tio -nal associations and FIFA Quality Conceptlicensees to have more FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf pitches. Far from providing amakeshift solution, Win in Africa with Africahas well and truly laid the foundationsfor development – the very essence of thisproject.Every picture tells a storyThe photographs show the fields in Congo,Togo, and Dijbouti. All showing the picturesof the grass field “before” and the FIFARECOMMENDED Football Turf “after”.It visibly highlights the postive impact theFIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turf surfaceshave had in these countries and whatcan be achieved to continously developfootball and make the playing experiencebetter and more enjoyable.Congo – beforeCongo – afterTogo – beforeTogo – afterDjibouti – beforeDjibouti – after7


WIN IN AFRICA WITH AFRICAMauritania – beforeMauritania – afterConclusion –Win in Africa with AfricaThe installation and positive early impact theFIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turf fieldshave had, has set solid foundations for thecontinuous development of football. Thegoal is to reach beyond football, becauseFIFA firmly believes its responsibilities extendoutside the sport itself. In fact, FIFA hopes:• to use football’s potential for human andsocial development, the promotion ofhealth, the development of communitiesand the promotion of peace, by supportinglocal organisations who work in thesefields.• to ensure the entire African continent willbenefit from the long term effects ofthe 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.• to send the whole world a positive messa -ge from Africa.Similar wide-ranging initiatives based on thesame model have been planned for otherregions of the world, with “Win in Oceaniawith Oceania” and “Win in India with India”soon to go ahead.All these projects consist of three major FIFAundertakings:• Developing the game• Touch the world• Build a better future8


OAKVILLE SOCCER CLUBCLUB & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTOakville Soccer ClubBACKGROUNDWith almost 12,000players registeredto play each year, theOakville Soccer Clubis by far the largestsoccer club in Canada. With a populationthat has just passed the 150,000 mark,Oakville has an amazing soccer traditionwith several players on the NationalTeams, particularly on the female side.“In Oakville, 1 out of 3 kids between theages of 5 and 18 play soccer through ourprograms”, explains Jean C. Gandubert,the Chief Administrative Officer of the Club.“This growth also brings a lot of growingpains such as a huge shortage of fields. Thelack of fields is our greatest challenge andthe reason why 800 kids were on a waitinglist this year. We currently have accessto just over 80 fields but we would needabout 150. This is why artificial surfaceswill become an important part of the solutionfor the future.”PROJECTOakville has just completed the installationof a FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR FootballTurf at River Oaks Park that will be mainlyused for youth training and the Adult HouseLeague. The Oakville Soccer Club hadcompleted a feasibility assessment andbusiness plan, conducted by DeloitteTouche, to review different options and thecase for artificial turf was so obvious thatthe Club changed its facility developmentstrategy accordingly.“The Club has always been a referenceand a model for both the Ontario SoccerAssociation and the Canadian SoccerAssociation, and with the due diligenceprocess to tackle the problem of facilities,we also establish a stronger relationshipwith the different levels of government,starting with the municipality.” addedGandubert. “Our business case includedsuch elements as the cost of land (realestate in Oakville is one of the mostexpensive in the Greater Toronto Area),the cost of maintenance, the cost ofreplacement as well as assessing our abilityto extend the usage times on each fieldand protect our other premium field fromwear and tear”.A number of artificial turf fields will be addedto Oakville’s inventory with a projectedsmall stadium using a FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf early in 2008, and4 to 8 additional FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFootball Turf fields by 2010. To make thispossible, the Oakville Soccer Club has enteredinto a P3 (Public Private Partnership) agreementwith the municipality to supportand accelerate these investments. The clubwill contribute to the capital financing,set the technical specifications (based onFIFA guidelines) and take over the operationof the fields, as well as obtaining the newrevenue streams granted by the municipality,advertising, naming rights and web-casting.Operating surpluses will be reinvested in theenhancement of existing facilities or forthe construction of new facilities througha trust fund / foundation.“Cost is an issue as we are accountable forour membership, but we seek the bestvalue and quality surfaces that will makethe most sense in the long term for us”commented Gandubert. “Our mission is tobe a community soccer club providinga life long quality soccer experience thatis valued by the players and families inOakville. In this context, creating addedvalue and ensuring sustainability is the keyfor us. Developing facilities such as theFIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turfhas meant that the club can continuallygrow, as the durability and quality of thesurface is excellent. Consequently morechildren and adults are always joining andwe can also expand our other programsgeared towards skill development”.OUTLOOKWith the challenges of the Canadian weather,the football season in Ontario is played inthe summer, yet the natural grass field is onlyavailable from early May to the end ofSeptember. Artificial fields will now extendthe season and can actually be used yearround.The number of playing hours willquadruple throughout the year and doubleduring the football season making FIFARECOMMENDED Football Turf fields themost logical choice for the Oakville SoccerClub.9


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYSTENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUBIntroductionStenhousemuir FootballClub is a communitybased footballclub located in thecentral belt of Scotland,midway between Edinburgh andGlasgow. The club was formed in 1884 andplayed at two other grounds before movingto their current ground, Ochilview, in 1890.Demonstrating its progressive credentials,in 1951 the club created history by playingHibernian in the first floodlit league matchin Scotland. The club currently plays in theBell‘s Scottish League Division Three andhas a ground capacity of 3,500.A new FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf pitch was installed at the club duringthe closed season break in the summer of2006, and ready for the commencementof the 2006/07 season. Set out in this casestudy is the background concerning theinstallation of the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf, and the very strongfinancial benefits which have arisen asa result.BackgroundSet in a comparatively low lying area with ahigh water table, maintaining a good qualitygrass pitch throughout the season hasproved to be challenging for Stenhousemuir.The club had been considering the introductionof an artificial turf pitch for at leastthree years prior to the installation of theFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turfpitch, but had not concluded on anyspecific course of action.The poor state of the pitch in the 2005/06season proved to be one of several catalystswhich led the club to install the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf pitch.In addition, the Local Authority was keento develop a community sports facility. Ratherthan going to the expense of building abrand new facility with its inherent costsBeforeAfterand long lead time, the Local Authorityoffered Stenhousemuir a grant of£250,000 towards the installation of theFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf pitch on the understanding that thefacility would be available for the communityto use throughout the year.Project leadershipAs with so many projects of this type, it isinvaluable to have a strong project leaderor “champion” for the scheme – someonewho will be an advocate for the schemeand make sure it happens. In the case ofStenhousemuir, the Board led by DavidReid, the Club Chairman, acted as the project“champion”. The Board had a shared visionfor the club and knew how important a goodquality, consistent playing surface wouldbe for the club. The Board’s decision to installthe FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf pitch was not originally driven by finance,but by the need to have a much more consistentplaying surface. This was essential forthree separate reasons as follows:• To provide the club’s youth teams witha much better quality training facility;• To give the first team players somewheresuitable to train, to give them their bestopportunity to play well; and• To avoid match postponements.However, since the installation of the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turfpitch, the club has seen significant financialbenefits arising.The installation of the turf has allowedthe club to make much greater use of thepitch, including first team training, youthdevelop ment training and communityusage. The ability for the first team to trainon the same pitch that they will play their10


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYmatches on, helps them to develop aconsistency that might not be possibleif using alternative training facilities.CostsPreparation and Installation CostsThe club has been fortunate to have manyskilled individuals on their board, includinghaving an engineer as their chairman. As aresult, the board members have been ableto provide some technical support free ofcharge, including a site survey. Typicallythis might cost anywhere between £15,000and £20,000 if the club had to pay a specialist.The majority of the preparation costswere covered by the Club’s contractor,who was responsible for installing the FootballTurf. The club did not use any other consultantsand did not go to the expenseof conducting a feasibility study. Againthis was due to the non financial driversfor the scheme. However, for other clubsundertaking this type of feasibility study,it might cost in the region of £8,000 –£10,000.During the installation process, it was necessaryfor the club to devote as muchas 10 hours per week of senior managementtime to ensure that the pitch was properlyinstalled. The installation period wasapproximately 6 weeks and although theclub did not have a direct cost, they haveidentified a notional cost of approximately£3,000 attributed to this senior managementtime.Set out below is a summary of the preparationcosts prior to and duringinstallation.Management TimeFeasibility studySite SurveyPreparation Costs£- £5'000 £10'000 £15'000In order to install the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf it was necessaryto undertake some ground work whichincluded the installation of a lateraldrainage system. The ground work andpreparation of the base cost approximately£210,000, with the playingsurface costing approximately £150,000.The club estimate the playing surfaceshould last approximately 8 years, withthe base work lasting approximately25 years.£150,000£110'000Football Turf Costs£210,000Source of Funds£250'000Base worksPitchLocal Authority GrantClubPitch Maintenance CostsThe new Football Turf pitch does need tobe maintained regularly and this forms partof the FIFA Quality Concept certificationprocess. Apart from the basic daily routine,maintenance includes checking for anyseams that might be split, testing the performanceof the pitch and carrying out anyother remedial work. Maintenance is essentialfor the long term quality of the surfaceand the performance and safety of players.Other Additional CostsThere have been very few additional coststhat Stenhousemuir have incurred as a resultof installing the FIFA RECOMMENDED 2STAR Football Turf pitch. One cost is aresult of the increased level of wear andtear to the public areas of the stadium,due to increased play and the need for newgoal nets, although this cost is minimal.The other area where the club has madea further significant investment, is in theinstallation of new floodlighting which allowsthe club to maximise the use of the pitchin the evenings. The new floodlighting systemis able to light three separate zones of the11


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYpitch so that if only part of the pitch is inuse, the floodlighting for the rest of the pitchcan be turned off.Cost savingsMaintenanceOne of the biggest savings for the clubhas been the reduction in pitch maintenancetime. This has fallen from approximately20 hours per week to only 5 hours per week,when the pitch is brushed. Rather thanmake their groundsman redundant, the clubhas given him other duties includingmaintaining the buildings and other generalon-site work. However, the notionalsaving in wages is approximately £4,000per annum.Reduction in Pitch Maintenance Hours20 hoursper weekGrass5 hoursper weekFootball TurfWith the installation of the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf,the club no longer has to re-seed or fertilisethe pitch each year and has reducedthe need for line marking. This saves in theregion of £5,000 per annum. In additionto the saving in maintenance costs, therehas also been a saving in water bills, asthe pitch no longer needs to be watered asmuch as grass. This has saved approximately£1,000 per annum. However, for clubs wherewater costs are significantly higher, or theclimate much warmer, this saving could bemuch more considerable.The club has made no discernible savingsin energy costs. One of the reasons forthis is that the club traditionally did nothave undersoil heating, a major energyuser. However, the lack of under soilheating previously resulted in a numberof matches being postponed. Now thereis no requirement for under pitch heating,so although there have been no costsavings, there has been a significant reductionin matches postponed due to adverseweather conditions.Finally, the club traditionally had to rentout other parks and facilities for youth teamgames and training. As this is no longernecessary, this as well has saved approximately£5,000 per annum.New revenue sourcesThe club have generated a number of newrevenue streams, both directly and indirectly,related to the installation of the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf.Pitch rentalIn the first year of operation, renting out theFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turfpitch has generated £52,000 of income,with more than 80,000 people using thefacility. It is envisaged that pitch rentalswill increase to at least £72,000 in year two,as greater use is made of the pitch duringthe period March to September. The club havesought out long term bookings whichguarantee the revenue stream and reducethe administration involved in taking the12


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYbookings. Due to the community focusfor the club, and the wish to engage withyouth teams, the club have let the pitchto community groups at concessionary ratessignificantly below the £120/hour theycharge to commercial organisations. Thepitch is also let to the Local Council and,due to their financial involvement in thescheme, they receive a preferential rentalcharge. Overall, this has reduced themaximum potential income that couldbe generated and, for other clubs indifferent circumstances, the rental levelscould be significantly higher. Howevera limitation factor is the usage hours ofthe pitch. Getting the balance betweenusage, maintenance and player performanceis essential for all stakeholdersto be content. Clearly, Football Turfprovides greater business potential bybringing new spectators to the footballstadium with the ultimate aim ofincreasing the fan base both short andlong term.Non football usageIn the first year of operation, the club didnot secure a non football event. However,in the first couple of weeks of year two,the pitch was let out at £3,000 for a “Funday”event. As the club becomes more familiarwith the non football market they intendto attract a great deal more non footballbusiness, particularly during the closedseason when the first team is not playing.Obviously with more usage, maintenancecosts will rise and this should always becatered for.Indirect revenuesIn terms of Indirect revenues generated bythe installation of the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf pitch, the largestof these revenue streams is snacks and softdrinks sold to site visitors. In addition tothe players buying drinks and snacks, parentswho come to watch their children trainalso spend money on catering, and this hasgenerated a profit of approximately £5,000for the club in the last year. Although thisis a modest profit, it has been generatedfrom a very small catering facility and isforecast to increase in future years, as theclub becomes more familiar with whatcustomers want.Overall financial summaryWhilst the capital cost of developing the newFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turfpitch at Stenhousemuir has represented amajor financial investment for the club,the returns being generated indicate thatit is a sound investment and should bea sustainable business model. AlthoughStenhousemuir did not embark on the processof installing the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf pitch for financialreasons, the club has already seen realbenefits in having a consistent playingsurface that minimises the number ofpostponed matches and has helped theclub to further engage with the community.However, it is a real bonus that13


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYYear 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 TotalCapital InvestmentNew Football Turf Pitch £ 360,000 £ 360,000Site Survey* £ 15,000 £ 15,000Feasibility study* £ 8,000 £ 8,000Management time* £6,000 £ 6,000Floodlighting £ 50,000 £ 50,000Total Capital Investment £ 439,000 £ 439,000Cost SavingsPitch maintenance wages £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 4,000 £ 32,000Pitch re-seeding, fertiliser, line marking £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 40,000Water £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 1,000 £ 8,000Pitch rental for youth teams £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 40,000Pitch maintenance (for FIFA certification) – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 5,000 – £ 40,000Total Cost Savings £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 80,000RevenuesPitch rental £ 52,000 £ 72,000 £ 80,000 £ 80,000 £ 80,000 £ 80,000 £ 80,000 £ 80,000 £ 604,000Catering income £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 5,000 £ 40,000Other income £ 3,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £ 10,000 £10,000 £ 10,000 £ 63,000Total Revenues £ 57,000 £ 80,000 £ 95,000 £ 95,000 £ 95,000 £ 95,000 £ 95,000 £ 95,000 £ 707,000Total Revenues and Cost Savings £ 67,000 £ 90,000 £ 105,000 £ 105,000 £ 105,000 £ 105,000 £ 105,000 £ 105,000 £ 787,000Return on Investment (ROI) % 15% 21% 24% 24% 24% 24% 24% 24%Net Income generated over the period £ 348,000* Notional Chargesthe club is generating a positive returnon investment and sufficient revenueto re-invest in the pitch, keeping it at itshigh standard.Illustrative 8 year budgetSet out above is an illustrative budgetfor Stenhousemuir over the first eight years(inflation has been excluded for thecalculations). Some of the notional costshave been included by way of illustration.However, for other clubs this mayvary depending on their individualcircumstances. This financial budgetindicates that, due to the high levelof pitch rental, the scheme is financiallyviable, generating a return on investmentof approximately 15% in year one,and rising to 24 % in year three.Best practiceStenhousemuir were working hard todeliver best practice with their old grasspitch, and this required a great deal ofeffort from their groundsman. Installingthe pitch has helped the club to deliverbest practice more easily and at a lowercost. To retain the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR certification, specific maintenancemethods have to be adopted. Althoughsome clubs might not spend this moneywith a traditional grass pitch, it would bebecause of poor practice rather thanbecause the work was not necessary. Forexample, relaying the grass pitch mightneed to be done every season, but oftenclubs do not undertake this work simplybecause they want to avoid spendingmoney.Lessons for other clubsThe Stenhousemuir case study illustratesthat, even with minimal cost savings anda conservative approach to rental pricing,it is still possible to make a strongbusiness case for the installation of theFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf pitch. In the case of other clubs, thebenefits can be even stronger if they areincurring higher levels of pitch maintenancecosts, or the club is operating a dedicatedtraining facility. In both these cases,the savings generated are likely to bemuch more considerable, giving an evenbetter business case for the installationof a new FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARFootball Turf pitch.The installation of the Football Turf pitchcan encourage best practice, avoid costs14


STENHOUSEMUIR FOOTBALL CLUB –FINANCIAL AND FOOTBALL STRATEGYof match postponement, and provide agreat community facility whilst, at thesame time, demonstrating a sustainablebusiness case.Community usageOne of the partners in the Stenhousemuirscheme is the Local Council, who invested£250,000 to enable the FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf pitch to be installed.Rather than building a new facility whichwould have been considerably more expensive,they chose to invest in the club facilityknowing that the combination of an excellentfacility with the coaching skill and expertiseof the club would make a much morecompelling offer to the local community.By having a FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARFootball Turf pitch, this enables the facilityto be used for seven days per week. Thefirst team use the pitch approximatelytwo evenings per week, plus the match ona Saturday, and the youth team use thefacility three evenings a week. However, asthe pitch can be split into three separatetraining areas, there are frequently occasionswhen both the youth team and othergroups are using the pitch simultaneously.The rest of the time the pitch is availablefor hire. Currently the pitch is utilisedapproximately 90% of the evenings andis targeted to achieve 50% during theday. On Saturday morning, an average of500 children use the Football Turf pitch,providing a wonderful opportunity for theclub to reinforce its close links with thelocal community. In addition, the club alsoruns both a Twilight and Midnight Leaguefor teenage children. This programme wasspecifically aimed at providing football forteenagers who might otherwise engage inpotentially anti-social activities and hasproved to be a great success, benefitingboth the youngsters and the communityat large.Recently, the club was able to play host to30 local juvenile cup finals, somethingthat was only possible due to the installationof the Football Turf pitch.Stenhousemuir has always had close linkswith the community, especially through itsyouth policy. However, what the installationof the FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf pitch has brought, is the opportunity tooffer a high quality facility to many morechildren who might otherwise have missedout on this chance.15


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUBWoodley Sports Football ClubIntroductionWoodley SportsFootball Clubis currently playingin the UnibondNorthern PremierLeague DivisionOne, England. They are four levels downin the non league football pyramid. Theclub is located on the outskirts of Stockportand is approximately 10 miles from Manchestercity centre. The club was formedin 1970 and although it enjoyed pitchsuccess, several years ago it found itselfin financial difficulties. At this time, twonew investors took over the club and setabout redeveloping the ground, withphase one of the redevelopment includingthe installation of a FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf pitch. This work wascompleted during the closed season breakin the summer of 2005 and the new pitchwas ready for the commencement of the2005/06 season. Set out in this case study,is the background concerning the installationof the FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFootball Turf, and the very strong financialbenefits which have arisen as a result.BackgroundThe Woodley Sports football ground hada very poor quality grass pitch whichwas difficult to maintain. In the precedingseasons, the club was postponing anaverage 10 games per season, due tothe poor quality of the pitch. This waspreventing the club from playing to thebest of its abilities and resulting in significantcosts and lost revenue. The club’s twonew investors recognised that this situationwas not sustainable and that something hadto be done to provide a more consistentplaying surface. They realised that the onlysensible solution was to consider installinga Football Turf pitch, and chose a FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf surfaceas most appropriate for their needs.Commercial approachThe two investors came with a backgroundin commercial property development,so right from the outset they took a morecommercial approach to the project. Theyrecognised that in order to secure a longterm future for Woodley Sports, they hadto ensure that the club had an on-goingindependent income stream to contributeto the running costs of the club.Set out in this case study is a review ofthe financial scheme, how it was originallyfunded, what additional revenues havebeen generated and what cost savings havebeen made. The case study also looks atthe cost and revenue profile over the next8 years to demonstrate the long termsustainability of the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf pitch. Finally, the casestudy notes some of the benefits that havearisen for the local community, and therole of the Football Association in helpingand supporting elements of the scheme.CostsPreparation and installation costsWith the experience of the club’s two investors,some of the preliminary coststhat might otherwise have been requiredwere not incurred, such as a site survey orfeasibility study. If the site survey had beencarried out separately, the club estimates thatit would have cost in the region of £2,000to £3,000. The investors did not specify acharge for a feasibility study, although theyput in a significant amount of managementtime to initiate the new pitch installationproject. They have estimated that the managementtime taken over the 8 months thescheme was being planned and implementedamounted to approximately £30,000.In order to install the new Football Turf itwas necessary to undertake significantground work to level off the existing pitch,which had a very steep gradient. This groundwork costs approximately £125,000 butthe club was able to sell the existing turfand the topsoil, recovering approximately£15,000 of the ground works costs. The16


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUBartificial playing surface cost approximately£210,000 and the club estimates that theplaying surface should last approximately8 years, with the base work lasting approximately25 years. There were other minor costsincurred such as new goal posts, cornerflags and a pitch groomer/tractor, suppliedby the football turf manufacturer. Theseamounted to no more than £4,500 in total.The club realised that if they were to attractan additional rental income from the pitch,it would be necessary to upgrade otherelements of the stadium such as the perimeterpaths and fencing, floodlightingand a new public address system. The clubinvested a further £200,000 in these works,but were able to get a grant for £100,000of the costs from the Football Foundation.The remaining funds were raised by wayof a bank loan/investment, and the abilityto secure this loan was influenced by thesuccessful business track record of the club’stwo investors.It is important to note that no grant wasavailable for the installation of the pitch.£200,000£100,000Football Turf Costs£110,000£210,000Source of Funds£420,000Base worksPitchStadium worksBank loan/InvestmentGrantIncremental operating costsThere have been very few additional coststhat Woodley Sports have incurred as aresult of installing the Football Turf pitch asfollows:• Increased level of wear and tear on thestadium’s public areas which the clubestimates costs an additional £5,000 perannum.• Local business rates on the stadiumwhich initial estimates suggest couldbe raised by £9,000 per annum,although the club is currently waitingfor a final decision.• Testing the pitch to retain FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR and FA Standardstatus is estimated at £1,500 perannum. (Please note that for FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR standard thecertificate is valid for 3 years and thereforecan be tested every 3 years, forFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR this is1 year respectively)• Cost of floodlighting for the all theadditional evening usage amountsto approximately £6,000 per annum.Cost savingsMaintenanceOne of the biggest savings for the club hasbeen the reduction in pitch maintenancecost. The cost has fallen from approximately£20,000 per year to approximately £5,000per year. However, maintenance is very muchneeded and crucial for longevity, performanceand safety. Whilst the cost has fallen,different types of maintenance are neededand the quality approach to maintenance andafter care is crucial.In addition to the saving in maintenancecosts, there has been a saving in water billsas the pitch no longer needs to be watered,other than during extremely hot conditions.This has saved approximately £1,500 perannum. The club has considered installinga watering system which would have acontainment tank to recycle as much ofthe water as possible. However, at thistime the club do not believe it is necessary.The club had a poor pitch and on averagehad approximately 10 postponed matchesper season. This had two financial impactson the club. The club was required to payfines by way of compensation to the travellingteam and pay the wages for the refereeand linesmen. This averaged approximately£1,000 per postponed match. In addition,the club lost vital ticket revenue. This cameabout because the pressure to catch upon fixtures meant that two, and sometimesthree, matches had to be scheduled in oneweek. Fans were likely to go to one ofthose matches but might be reluctant tobuy two or even three tickets in the sameweek. Since the introduction of the FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf pitchtwo years ago, not one match has beenpostponed due to problems with the pitch.Finally, the club traditionally had to renttraining facilities for both the first team andthe reserves. As this is no longer necessarya saving of approximately £8,000 per annumhas been made.17


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUBNew revenue sourcesThe club has generated a number of newrevenue streams, both directly and indirectlyrelated to the installation of the Football Turf.Pitch rentalIn the first year of operation, renting outthe Football Turf pitch has generated £47,000of income, and in the second year that roseto approximately £72,000. It is envisaged thatpitch rentals will increase to at least £92,000in year three, with maximum capacity beingreached by year five, when the rental is estimatedat £112,000 per annum.The club use the pitch approximately 10 hoursper week with 10 hours usage provided tothe community at a discount or no cost. Theother hours per week are let at commercialrates (around £100/hour) to a variety oforganisations. One group, for example, specialisesin training children who have thepotential to go into professional football.Every Saturday morning 75 children receivecoaching on the pitch, something thatsimply was not possible before the installationof the FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFootball Turf pitch. The club has alsoestablished links with Signol Athletic, a juniorfootball club with 275 players ranging in agefrom 6–16. Signol now has a home withexcellent facilities and the opportunity totrain regularly at Woodley Sports. StockportCounty Centre of Excellence also use thefacility 3 times per week.The quality of the pitch and the fact thatit is unaffected by poor weather, means thatWoodley Sports is the adverse weathertraining facility for a number of other clubs.These include Stockport County, a LeagueTwo professional football club and Sale Sharks,a Premiership Rugby Union club.Non football usageThe club has not let the pitch for nonfootball usage because of the concernsregarding glass and cigarettes in theplaying surface. In addition the club arereluctant to get involved with any activitythat might invalidate their warranty.However, if those factors could be managedwithout invalidating the warranty,they would then be willing to explorethis potential revenue stream further.Indirect revenuesIn terms of indirect revenues generated bythe installation of the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf pitch, the largest ofthese revenue streams is from the clubhouse and cafe at the stadium. In additionto the players buying drinks and snacks,parents who come to watch their childrentrain also spend money on catering.The club house is now let out to outsideorganisations on a more frequent basis,because the site is much more attractive.Prior to the installation of the FootballTurf, the cafe was making no profit whatsoeverand created management problemsfor the club. With the much higher activityin coming into the stadium, the club havebeen able to externally franchise both theclubhouse and the cafe, which togetherbring in a guaranteed revenue stream of£20,000 per annum.One other indirect benefit for the clubhas been the ability to attract and securesponsorship. With the installation of theFIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR pitch, themedia profile of the club has been raisedsignificantly. Together with much highernumbers of people visiting the site, thishas made sponsoring and advertising atthe stadium a more attractive proposition.18


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUBOverall financial summaryWhilst the capital cost of developing thenew Football Turf pitch at Woodley Sportshas represented a major financial investmentfor the club, funded in large partthrough commercial loans, the returnsbeing generated indicate that it is a soundinvestment and should be a sustainablebusiness model.Woodley Sports had a clear vision that thenew FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR FootballTurf pitch had to help generate a long termrevenue stream to help sustain the financialposition of the club. The club has enhancedits profile in the local community and set theclub on a much more secure financial footing.In addition, the quality of the playingsurface has been of a sufficiently high standardto enable the club to train and sell threeof their players to professional football clubs.Illustrative 8 year budgetSet out below is an illustrative budget forWoodley Sports over the first eight years(inflation has been excluded from thecalculations). Some of the notional costshave been included by way of illustrationand one unresolved cost (local businessrates) has also been included. However,for other clubs, this may vary dependingon their individual circumstances. Thisfinancial budget indicates that, due to thehigh level of pitch rental, the scheme isfinancially viable, generating a return oninvestment of approximately 14 % inyear one, and rising to 28 % by year five.Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 TotalCapital InvestmentSite Survey* £3,000 £3,000Ground works net of turf sale £110,000 £110,000New Football Turf Pitch £210,000 £210,000Management time* £30,000 £30,000Floodlighting, fencing and other stadium works £200,000 £200,000New goal posts, flags and pitch groomer £4,500 £4,500Total Capital Investment £557,500 £557,500CostsCost SavingsPitch maintenance £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £15,000 £120,000Water £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £1,500 £12,000Training pitch rental £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £64,000Match postponement fines £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £80,000Incremental CostsStadium (public areas) maintenance –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£5,000 –£40,000Electricity for floodlighting – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £6,000 – £48,000Pitch maintenance(for FIFA certification) – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £1,500 – £12,000Increase in rates** –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£9,000 –£72,000Total Cost Savings £13,000 £13,000 £13,000 £22,000 £22,000 £22,000 £22,000 £22,000 £149,000RevenuesPitch rental £47,000 £72,000 £92,000 £92,000 £112,000 £112,000 £112,000 £112,000 £751,000Cafe franchise rental £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £8,000 £64,000Clubhouse franchise rental £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £12,000 £96,000Total Revenues £67,000 £92,000 £112,000 £112,000 £132,000 £132,000 £132,000 £132,000 £911,000Total Revenues and Cost Savings £80,000 £105,000 £125,000 £134,000 £154,000 £154,000 £154,000 £154,000 £1,060,000Return on Investment (ROI)% 14 % 19 % 22 % 24 % 28 % 28 % 28 % 28 %Net Income generated over the period £502,500* Notional Charges ** This charge has yet to be finalised19


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUB• It should also be noted that recyclingand removable costs can be occurredafter 8 years, and this should beaccounted for.• Pitch maintenance cost also includes theFootball Association testing procedureevery year as the FIFA 1 STAR test is every3 years.Lessons for other clubsThe Woodley Sports case study illustratesthat, with a clear vision and a commercialapproach, it is possible to raise commercialloans to fund such a development. In thecase of other clubs, the benefits can be evenstronger if they are incurring higher levelsof pitch maintenance costs or the club isoperating a dedicated training facility. In boththese cases, the savings generated are likelyto be much more considerable, giving an evenbetter business case for the installation ofa new Football Turf pitch.Encouraging participationThe UK government agenda for sport hasa strong focus on increasing participation,with a target of getting 70 % of thepopulation active by 2020. The first shortterm target, 2005 – 2008, is to improveparticipation by 3 %, which equates togetting an additional 390,000 adultsparticipating each year. This is acknowledgedas a challenging target withone of the factors limiting achievementbeing the requirement for investmentin facilities.Based on the experience of WoodleySports, the installation of a Football Turfpitch has opened up opportunities forparticipation to a large number of peoplewho previously had little or no accessto sports facilities, possibly as many as1,000 people every week.An additional benefit of a Football Turfpitch, is that the experience of playing on aclean, mud free pitch may also encourageparticipants to continue playing footballwhen they might otherwise have droppedout with the focus now being of a verypositive and FUN experience.It is certain that a traditional grass pitchsimply could not accommodate any morethan the basic requirements of the firstteam and reserves, possibly no morethan 40 players a week. Therefore the“leverage” that a Football Turf pitchcreates, is approximately 25:1 comparedto a traditional grass pitch.Role of the English FootballAssociationThe English Football Association has beensupportive of the introduction of FootballTurf to the non professional game. This20


WOODLEY SPORTS FOOTBALL CLUBpositive experience from Woodley Sportshighlights what is achievable in a very shortspace of time. To simply put it:a) Increased participation across all agesand gender.b) Put the focus on engaging with thecommunity and with what WoodleySport has to offer – A pitch for thepeople.c) Created and stabilised the financesof the club both short and long term.A number of clubs could benefit greatlyfrom its introduction, both in England andglobally, and could provide an alternativebusiness and football model in the future.In England, there is a large group of approximately2,000 clubs, typically playingat tiers 2 to 7 of the Non League FootballPyramid, who might benefit significantly fromthe introduction of a FIFA RECOMMENDED1 or 2 STAR Football Turf. This would create a better playing surface, minimising gameslost due to weather, and generating anindependent income stream to support theirclub. The case study seems to suggest thatas long as the club can secure planningpermission to install the Football Turf alongwith floodlighting to maximise eveningusage, it can be a financially sustainableoption.The impact a FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf could have widespreadpositive change on thedevelopment of community andclub football.Of particular interest to FIFA, English FootballAssociation and the UK Government,the installation of the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf has the potential tohelp engage a huge number of participants.If only 10 % of the targeted 2,000 nonleague clubs installed Football Turf, this couldhelp an extra 200,000 people to participatein sport each week.ConclusionFootball clubs such as Woodley Sports,show that the club has a vital part to playin developing football as a recreational,health promoting activity, as well as beinga competitive sport. The club should beat the heart of developing football globallyand engaging with their local population.The example illustrated shows the short termbenefits and the long term vision of whata FIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turf can doto develop football.(Note: At time of publishing, the artificial turf at theWoodley Sports Football Club is going throughthe testing to be awarded the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR certificate)21


SCHOOLS FOOTBALLKingsbrook CollegeOn the 28th of April2006, KingsbrookSpecialist College nearMilton Keynes, Englandwas awarded theFIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf certificate.This case study highlights the impact thatthe FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR FootballTurf has made to the school for the pupils,teachers and the school’s community.Learning through Football TurfOne of the key factors to learning, is providingthe correct environment for childrento maximise their potential and develop asa person. The quality of the surface of theFIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turfcreates the perfect environment. At thesame time, a quality football surface makesit “fun and enjoyable” and through thisthe learning curve is accelerated. Withoutthe provision of the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR field, the teachers saw a lack ofmotivation, enthusiasm and enjoymentof the beautiful game from their pupils.This was mainly because the natural grasspitches were unplayable the majority of theyear and football was just not fun.Thanks to the excellent playing surface anddurability of the FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf, the teachers are ableto make better provision for football becauseit is not affected by weather. Thereforecancelled lessons for outdoor physical educationis something of the past. The FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR has changed thecurriculum pattern overnight and this hasproved very positive for the schools future.Phil Cousins, Head of Physical Educationat Kingsbrook, provides a useful insight towhat the FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARplaying surface offers from a teaching perspective.“It’s a massive motivation tool,if they could, the kids would be on the surfaceall the time. Practice at lunchtimeshas really taken off, they are rushing downfrom the changing rooms to get down tothe surface. We have 80 students in our yearnine group. I’m getting 50 to 60 out atfootball practice, whereas a year ago on themuddy grass on a horrible winter’s day, I’dget 15 to 20 at most”.Very proud of the pitchAs a business and enterprise college, thestudents were part of the decision makingprocess and strategy on the impact andbenefits of a Football Turf field. The pupilsbeing part of the process from start tofinish, meant that they were very proudwhen the FIFA RECOMMENDED FootballTurf was finally installed, and the pupils takeenormous pride when playing on thesurface. It is very true to say that the FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf isa focus on quality at the school. Furthermoretaking the field as a vehicle for quality hasbuilt upon the ethos of the school’s qualityeducation. Revenue and a sustainablefacility are the cornerstones to attractmultiple funding streams, but the driver22


SCHOOLS FOOTBALLis of course the quality opportunity it createsfor children.Increasing girls participationin footballNow the girls‘ approach to football has alsopositively changed. Once there was thereluctance because of the poor quality grassfields. The look and feel of the Football Turffield is far more enticing to play football andas some of the girls said: “Does not hurtyou”. Furthermore the headteacher re-iteratesthis view: “The pupils are in control, thesurface is far truer”.The Football AssociationThe Football Association also have a positiveview on what a FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFootball Turf can do for the community.Steve Williams, head of facilities for the FootballAssociation says: “The benefits arebetter skills, better opportunities to playthe game at a higher level, and bringinga better quality of player through for theFootball Association in years to come”.A pitch for the communityThe FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR FootballTurf is very much a pitch for the communityand very much so – the wider community.Firstly more extra curricular football activitiesare on offer for the pupils. This helps theparents as they know they are in a safe andsecure environment and participating infootball rather than potentially doing nothingafter school.During weekdays the FIFA RECOMMENDEDFootball Turf is block booked every eveningbetween 6 – 10. For example, the durabilityand excellent playing conditions of a FIFARECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turf hascreated 5 separate leagues every week.In school holidays this has meant soccerschools for children and adult participationin the evening.Health benefitsA strategic investment in a quality surfaceFIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR Football Turfhas engaged the school pupils and thewider community to be more active andparticipate more in football. The longterm benefit is that this creates a healthier,more active community that on a local levelwould help reduce obesity, heart diseaseand illness because football is healthy forbody, mind and soul. If this model couldbe replicated nationally and internationallythis would tackle some of the health concernsin many countries and potentially radicalchange could occur.The provision of a quality Football Turf surfacehas made a radical but positive changeto the school. More football participation,more fun for the children, better optionsfor the teachers and engaging the school inthe wider community.23


STADE DE SUISSE, BSC YOUNG BOYSSwitzerlandThe strategy of selecting Football TurfOn the 14th of July2006, the field at theStade de Suisse, Bern,Switzerland wasawarded the FIFARECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf.The stadium is home to BSC Young Boys,who participate in the Swiss Premier League.The surface was also used for homematches for BSC Young Boys for the2006 – 2007 UEFA Cup season.This case study highlights the strategy,reasoning and approach they took beforeswitching from grass to Football Turf.Indeed by working closely with the Stadede Suisse, this case study shows thatFootball Turf is very much an optimal forboth football and business.The Stade de SuisseUnlike many other stadia, which more oftenthan not are owned by their respectiveteams, the Stade de Suisse actually owns itsfootball club, BSC Young Boys. As StefanNiedermaier, Stade de Suisse’s CEO says,“We want to be a multi-functional stadium– in fact we have to be, otherwise, we arenot going to make money – it is as simple asthat.” Based on this statement, the followinghighlights the strategy from concept toreality and installing a FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf.In simple terms the strategy, the motivesfor installing a FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf were:• More Football in the stadium• More Flexibility• Financial revenueIn order to achieve their aims, the keyproblem was the limitations of their grasspitch, and the reasons for the changeto a FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf were:• Natural grass can only host a limitednumber of events.• Durability is heavily dependent onweather.• Using the stadium for more events wouldlead to more risks.Working with the football teamTo achieve a successful transition, and toalleviate any fear or anxiety the players hadregarding the artificial turf surface, theplayers were consulted throughout andwere also part of the decision makingprocess. As Stefen Niedermaier says: “Whenwe were first looking at installing artificialturf, we flew the team to Red Bull Salzburg,where the same artificial turf producthas been installed and certified as FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR. I wanted tobe 100 per cent sure that the team, players,staff and the coach, fully supported theidea”.A successful solution for allMultiple use, image and sport costs wereall motivating factors for installing a FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf.Multiple useInstalling a FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARFootball Turf allowed much more frequentuse of the stadium infrastructure. Thussports, business events and concerts couldall take place, and even more important –on a frequent basis, thus generating morespectators due to the increased frequencyof events such as concerts and businessseminars. The strategic goal of “non24


STADE DE SUISSE, BSC YOUNG BOYSSwitzerlandtraditional football fans” coming into thefootball stadium, was the hope that theymay come back and see BSC Young Boys.A good long term strategy of increasing thefan base.ImageDue to the durability of the playing surfacethe look and feel are excellent all year round.And an evergreen FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR field has enhanced our image forspectators in the stadium, as well as fortelevision and photographers. The stadiumalso had a further unique selling pointin the Swiss Premier League. It was the onlyclub to have a FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARFootball Turf field, hence showing initiativeand leading the way for other clubs towatch and learn. The Stade de Suisse werevery much groundbreakers in seeing thebenefits and development for business andfootball as a whole.SportDue to the durability of the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR surface, the firstteam can play on the pitch as well as youthteams. This creates a club atmosphere andutilises the Football Turf surface to its bestadvantage.CostsThanks to the installation of the surface,costs are saved due to less investment,less maintenance and more revenue hasbeen gained, especially when concertshosting Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams havetaken place.Special eventsTo help keep its bank balance healthy, Stadede Suisse has begun staging a numberof special events beyond football, includinga very successful ice hockey game. “InSwitzerland, ice hockey is extremely popular,and this is particularly true here in Bern.We recently hosted a local derby betweenBern and Langnau which is the city closest tothe capital here,” explains Stefan Niedermaier.Both teams have their own homes ofcourse, in fact Bern’s ice hockey arena is justa few hundred metres from the Stade deSuisse. However, neither can match thestadium’s capacity, and the deal proved toogood to resist for cash strapped Langnau,which decided to switch its ‘home’ gameto the Stade de Suisse, as part of a jointventure with the stadium. “We decided toshare the risk but also to share the profit,”said Stefan Niedermaier. The game eventuallydrew a sell-out crowd of 30,000, settinga new European record for a championshipgame, beating the previous record of23,000 spectators for a match in Sweden,also held in a football stadium. Such asuccess has clearly whetted the appetite formore events of this kind in the future.During the next winter break, the Stade deSuisse are planning on having three orfour weeks of ice activities, including publicskating, special ice dance events and evenfreestyle skiing exhibitions. A month-longprogramme makes a lot of sense economicallyand ecologically.ConclusionSince the installation of the FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf, thebusiness, strategy and football side haveall been successful. Indeed the financialbenefits of installing the Football Turf pitchhas in turn helped the club move forward asmore money can be re-invested in the team.25


DECISION MAKING PROCESS OFCHOOSING A FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFOOTBALL TURFDecision making processBACKGROUNDKingsbrook Collegeinstalled a FIFARECOMMENDEDFootball Turf in April2006.The case study highlights the background forthe college choosing a FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf, and the decision makingprocess behind their decision. The case studyis intended to help other schools, communitiesand Universities in making an“informeddecision”.Kingsbrook College is based in a village calledDeanshanger, England. The nearest city beingMilton Keynes.The College’s previous natural sports pitchfacility was poor and just had traditional undrainedgrass fields, built on a flood plain.For about 3 months of the year, they foundthat sometimes the pitch or grass fieldswere in water to a depth of most probably30cm for about 10 weeks, dramatically reducingthe usage time through the academicyear. The closure of the pitches was the normand so sparked an idea to develop an allweatherpitch surface able to cope with theirrestrictive environmental pressures, and tohelp increase school and community usage.The other major area of importance was thatof the rurally deprived nature of the surroundingvillage area. No high-quality sports surfaceswere available to the local community.There was also a very limited bus serviceinto Milton Keynes, and although MiltonKeynes is only 6–8 miles away, in the eveningit is nearly impossible to travel there unlessprivate transportation is available. Similarproblems existed for the surrounding villagestoo, so the potential to serve a greatercatchment area was an additional factor.The project was conceived and developedthrough 2003 to 2005 and was finallyconstructed in September 2005. With theFootball Turf being FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR in April 2006.GENERAL PLANNINGThere was a demand for a high qualitysports surface that could offer the desiredplaying quality, as well as be able to copewith local environmental conditions andvaried usage. And a surface that couldpromote revenue generation for the pitchowners.A questionnaire was developed by the collegefor market research that was sent out to1,000 local families, to gauge what theythought was needed to improve sports provisionand which sports were importantto them. The college used their students,as well as their families to complete thequestionnaire, because they were local andit involved their parents. In addition, it wassent to a wide spectrum across all age rangeswithin the community. When they had tostate their preference for the type of sportto make provisions for, 80 –90% said thatthey wanted football facilities in preferenceto hockey facilities. The college was initiallyconsidering a multisport facility to includehockey and football. This result changedthe focus of the pitch design and gave fullpriority to a football only specification.After the response from the community,and after a lot of contact with all the localsports clubs, contact with South NorthHants District Council (SNDC), North HantsCounty Council (NCC), the Football Foundationand the Football Association, they realisedthey were in with a chance of possibly gettingwhat they initially thought, a half-size pitch.After investigation, it was concluded thata full sized pitch would help to carry morecapacity, and could be relied upon togenerate more income during the highercapacity of its lifetime.NCC basically gave them support, whereasthe SNDC, who also in their communitydevelopment plan had said the area wasshort of facilities, supported them. That,by all accounts, was a real challenge to negotiatebecause of different viewpointsbetween South Northants District Counciland Northamptonshire County Counciland their Councillors. Each was saying thisshould be part of the education systemonly. But the whole of the bid in the opinionof the college’s representatives, who pushedon, was in fact community based.The bid was 60% community emphasis and40% school emphasis, but they maintainedthe school is part of the community and sothey felt no grievance over that classification.It was vital to the development processto push for this status, not only from afunding and management point of view, butalso as a method to insure the pitch couldmeet its carrying capacity in the short andlong-term. Otherwise, the out of schooltime slots would have been more difficult toconsistently fill. Moreover, it would haveraised ownership issues where the schoolcould not have relied upon the local authoritiesfor planning or other project managementhelp.Putting the project together as a joint bid(college and local authority) produced ashared vision for the area. It stopped beingthe “school football pitch“ for a fortnight,to become an area belonging to the wholecommunity. But the college use of thefacility was secondary to the communityprocess and that was absolutely clear, be-26


DECISION MAKING PROCESS OFCHOOSING A FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFOOTBALL TURFGeneral PlanningKingsbrook CollegeFA NCC SNDC FFResearch 1000HouseholdsFinancialplanningManagement Plan Business Plan Budget PlanBidding processKingsbrook CollegeCommunity based joint bidSNDC / NCCFundingSport EnglandInternalFundingSources fromSponsorshipUser GroupsLocal GroundConditionsUsage HoursProduct selectionInstalled FieldFIFA RECOMMENDED27


DECISION MAKING PROCESS OFCHOOSING A FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFOOTBALL TURFcause if they hadn’t agreed, but merrily goneon as this being a school issue, it wouldn’thave been successful. B, Northamptonshirewouldn’t be talking to South Northantsand C, everybody in the area would havesaid that they never get to use it. And ifone looks at the majority of school basedpitches, they are advertising for peopleto use it because it is “the school pitch”.All the local football teams were broughtinto the consultation, all community groups,primary schools, everybody, in fact they evenspoke to a Business Chamber of Commerceabout how it could be of use to them.So it was a community-based bid, and quitea lot of work was done to make sure thatthe need was out there, but this has nowbeen proven since development. Accurateplanning to gauge loading of the surface ishighly important if the facility is to manageitself financially. Making a financial loss maybe acceptable of course, based upon theposition of the owner. However, if it is essentialto break even or make surplus funds,either to be re-invested in the facility, or spentelsewhere, understanding the need to“sweat the asset” must be properly analysed.A fairly full evening from 6:00 – 10.00 pmmost nights sees the pitch being used by thecommunity across all ages and ability rangesevery week. There are clashes and low prioritytimes that must be considered, but on thewhole there is a surplus of business waitingto use the pitch. On the flipside, it may wellbe that one pitch is not enough to satisfy adeprived sports area, and so the possibilityof a second or at least a larger facility mustbe identified.One of the major questions to considerduring the planning stage, is whether ornot changing and support facilities arealso needed? Kingsbrook College are nowinvestigating funding opportunities to developsupport facilities adjacent to the pitchbecause of the high level of communityusage. Upon reflection it would havebeen prudent to apply for both the pitchand support facilities, but at the time itwas unclear whether or not user groupswould require them. A major fact here,is how unaware everybody involved wasregarding just how far people wouldcome to use a FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFootball Turf. Users are attracted to it fromover ten miles away, based upon how wellthey perceive its quality to be in comparisonto their own facilities (especially duringprolonged periods of poor weather).There is sometimes a problem with Schools’applying for funding for such projects,because the emphasis is put on the schoolsusage only. Once the beneficial impact forthe community as a whole is understood,there is a much better chance the fundingand government bodies will be on boardwith the project.Vision for excellenceWhat makes this project so different, wasthe vision for excellence and the fact theywere doing everything possible to ensuretop quality facilities that would promote theskill levels of their younger users. So lookingat that vision of what could happen to youngpeople, or how one could get the best outof them either in the school or community –looking at the Economic Development Planof the area it talked about bringing in middleleaders and actually breeding the levels ofmiddle leaders with the appropriate abilitiesto be directors of the local area.They also involved their primary schools andall of these backed them as they moved theproject forward. All levels of the communitywere pushing it; their parents and all theircontacts, and they knew they were relativelysmall rural primary schools, but the visionthat they had for the area was that theyare part of it, and they supported the collegein ways which they could bring into thebidding process.FINANCIAL DECISION-MAKINGPROCESSThe college went through a very detailedfinancial planning process that designed tocover all key requirements from a businesspoint of view to ensure all eventualities thatwould affect the success of the pitch’s developmentwere investigated.A management plan, business plan, budgetplan and cost per annum revenue plan wasall in the bid used to gain funding. Theonly major omission was a marketing plan,which upon reflection would have helpedto establish pathways for the immediateloading capacity fulfilment. Initial marketresearch was used of course, but widerresearch was not considered necessarybecause the college did not appreciate justhow far users would travel from at theproject conception time. Upon reflection,it would have meant an easier passageof pitch loading after completion, but thisdid build upon its own once the word-ofmouthand follow up marketing factors hadbeen generated.Sources for application and funding werealso identified at this time, together with allassociated costs to include surface supplyand construction, maintenance provision,staffing, capital equipment, and other keyitems of importance.28


DECISION MAKING PROCESS OFCHOOSING A FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFOOTBALL TURFCash and usage flow projects were developed,and it was not just a case of bestcase versus worst case scenario.They worked on the basis of what theythought was the minimum they couldachieve, and what was the maximum theythought they could get from it in termsof loading and usage, as well as how thatinfluenced financial return.The Governors of Kingsbrook College,whose only real financial commitmentwas to the school itself, agreed to back itwhatever happend, so if it was going torun at a loss the school Governors andthe budget would actually support that,because it was of benefit to the school.They decided that if it ran at a profit theywould plough the funds back into thepitch, and into the sinking funds for replacementwhen the time arose. Analysing thepresent day costs of a future capital purchase– for the infill or carpet layer – everythingmust be made clear at the planning stage.Positively developing sinking funds willmake a crucial difference to being able tomake the required replacement of keypitch components, or at least will helpoffset a massive capital blow at the timeof replacement, by breaking down thecosts over the lifetime of the component.Expertise was brought in from the two localauthorities, the board of governors andfrom outside the college, to help battle thefigures and work through the various scenarios.They also put aside £5,000 a year, togo into a fund for surface replacement forwhen the time arose. It was predicted that areplacement may be necessary in approximately12 to 15 years – although this periodmay well be exceeded. At that stage therewill be £100,000 in the fund for whoever ismanaging the pitch to be able to go aheadwith the replacement of the grass layer etc.The College then basically did furtherresearch and analysis, got all the relevantforms, and approached Sport England.The Sport England fund-raising processproved positive and initially they wereawarded £200,000 – but, in reality, in theend they actually received £280,000.The remainder of the capital requirementwas sought from internal sources andthrough sponsorship.USAGEThe pitch is used during the day for theschool’s teaching programmes, and hired outto external local users and communitiesfurther afield during the evenings and atweekends. Almost constant usage takesplace throughout the week, month and year,making optimal financial returns of theinvestment and permitting the pitch to easilysupport itself. This of course is the key tosuccessful financial management with regardto forthcoming maintenance and replacementcosts, not to mention the accuracy ofinitial cost budgeting to maintain the pitchduring the course of its lifetime.Because they are also part of the SecondarySports College up the road, and closelylinked with their primary schools, Kingsbrookactually provide a co-ordinator to organiseprimary school sports and help develop sportingexpertise. Thanks to this initiative fromthe sports college, together with the useof the pitch, this has now become routineand the players on the field range from5-years-of-age up to adults.91011Improved playing conditions,which remain constant all year round.CommitmentThe usage of the pitch has expanded to alllevels of the game through local and regionalcommunities.Commenting on usage experiences sofar, the College said “We’ve never closed,although there were exceptional bankholidays and a certain private company thatactually resulted in a booking of 50 weeks”.“The caretaker is in at weekends and overthe Christmas period and summer seasons,which is great news, because the communityare making use of it”.Unaffected by weather and resistantto harsh climatic conditions(rain, snow, drought, frost etc.).ALL WEATHER PERFORMANCEThe college has reported the area to bephenomenal. They spoke about one nightin particular, when everything surroundingthe college was flooded including the floodplains. The rain was extremely heavy butthe players just kept playing right through it.The FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR FootballTurf didn’t have any build-up of water whatsoever.The drainage under it is such highquality and there was amazement that theycould continue to play, especially consideringhow little a volume of water was needed toclose the old natural surfaces. In addition,frosts lift very rapidly and are never a reasonfor closing the pitch.29


DECISION MAKING PROCESS OFCHOOSING A FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STARFOOTBALL TURFA variety of potential uses:training, matches and cultural eventscan be held on the same turf.USER FEEDBACK ON SURFACEPLAYABILITYAll of the user groups from schools to semiprofessional teams, have reported the excellentplaying possibilities of the pitch. Theconsistency of it in the face of changing climaticconditions is one of the major advantages.The surface is very close to the feelof a natural turf pitch, but provides moreconfidence where tackling and sliding areconcerned, as compared to the heavy soilbasedpitches in the area.PRODUCT SELECTIONThey opted for the highest standard theycould find at the time, with longevity ofservice and with the highest loading capacityin mind. Materials, construction and qualitymaintenance are all-important to guaranteethe longevity and sustained playability ofthe 3rd generation artificial pitch. Choosinga cheaper pitch design may not necessarilymean poor quality, but the independent testingof materials and construction qualitymust take place if the dangers of poor performanceare to be eliminated.Kingsbrook wanted a FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR Football Turf, which was the higheststandard available at the time. A full sizepitch was decided upon so that it could beused to play matches at all levels, fromprimary school to adult age. A full sizedpitch also enabled the college to split thetotal pitch area in three equally sized sections;playing each game across the normalline of play. This was essential if they wereto promote higher levels of income generationby grouping several different customers orclasses onto the pitch at one timeFewer playing fields required,because it has greater longevity.FURTHER DEVELOPMENTFOR FIFA RECOMMENDED1 STAR FOOTBALL TURFThey have had a lot of interest from otherschools, as well as other institutions fromall around the country, just asking if theycan come down and have a look at thepitch. And no doubt pitch developmentwill grow rapidly in the surrounding areasbased on the success of Kingsbrook College.The college staff don‘t regard this as aninconvenience, as people coming to viewthe pitch greatly benefit their school andcommunity! And if others can learn fromthe Kingsbrook experience, the collegefeels it is well worth the time invested ontheir part.Their advice to anyone planning such amove, is to do your homework thoroughlyduring the planning and funding applicationprocesses. Another crucial factor, is theessential level of professional support onbehalf of all government and communitylevels, so nothing is left to chance.Easy maintenanceand low maintenance costs.ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCEREQIRUEMENTSThe in-house caretaker carries out theday-to-day maintenance of the pitch, whichcomprises mainly of litter collection andbrushing only. The total weekly time takenis between four to six hours. Previously,specialist maintenance contractors wereneeded when the area housed a natural turfpitch. There will of course be times duringthe FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR pitch’slifetime when specialist maintenance will beneeded, but this is far less frequent as comparedto the annual needs of natural turf.Financial provisions for maintenance practices,including materials and wages, arepaid for with pitch usage fees. No majorissues have arisen in the 18 months sincethe pitches installation with regard tomaintenance or repairs. Only the markinglines for the secondary five-a-side pitchesneed to be repainted, and upon reflectionshould have been woven-in, the same asthe primary football lines, during the manufactureof the carpet layer.CONCLUSIONPrior to making their final decision,Kingsbrook School consulted and discussedwith all community stakeholders. They hada vision and long term approach. Maintenanceand after care were key factors in thechoice of FIFA RECOMMENDED Football Turf– and naturally its sustainable long termquality. Keeping that quality environmentwas paramount for the success and enjoymentof all.30


TECHNICAL STUDY 3Technical Study 3A comparative performance analysis ofgames played on Football Turf and naturalgrass surfaces, from the evaluation ofgames played in the Dutch Eredivisie.IntroductionRecent findings from two previous ProZonetechnical studies on European Football,have shown that playing patterns do notsignificantly change when teams competeon FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR FootballTurf as opposed to natural grass surfaces.Some small differences were observed incertain facets of play, including attackingplay, possession transitions, interceptions,and crossing patterns. Further objectiveanalysis was therefore deemed necessaryto quantify and compare playing patternson Football Turf and natural grass surfaces.The following study includes ProZone technicalanalysis from 34 football matches playedin the Dutch Eredivisie (Dutch domesticPremier League) during the 2006 – 07 season.Analysis of this kind, from games playedon both FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STARFootball Turf and top quality natural grasssurfaces, will enable us to further explorethe fundamental question: Does the gamechange on Football Turf?AimThe aim of this third study, is to furtheranalyse the potential impact that FootballTurf may have on the pattern of the gameand performance, and hence providean objective feedback about the use ofFootball Turf playing surfaces in football.MethodData was collated from 34 Dutch Eredivisiematches during the 2006 – 07 season.Of these 34 games, 17 involved gamesplayed at SC Heracles Almelo’s PolmanStadium that has a FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf surface, whilethe other 17 involved games played atFC Utrecht’s Galgenwaard Stadium, whichhas a natural grass surface. From these34 matches, only the away team’s datafrom the games played at SC HeraclesAlmelo and FC Utrecht were consideredin the analysis. Eliminating the hometeam’s data removed any perceived biasor learned effect resulting from habitualplay on Football Turf or natural grass,which may have distorted the result.An equal number of games on FootballTurf and natural grass (involving the same17 away opponents) were thereforeanalysed in a fair and direct comparison.From the 34 away team performances,there were 464 players used in the study(234 players on grass and 230 playerson Football Turf). Only players whoplay 90 minutes were included for theindividual and positional average data.Matches were analysed using the computerisedProZone MatchViewer system.The system enables a range of tacticaland technical information to be extractedfrom a single camera source, throughplotting every on-the-ball action thatoccurs in a game (event, player, and pitchposition). Around 2000 –2500 ProZone‘events’ were analysed per game usingthe ProZone MatchViewer system, providinga comprehensive range of technicalmatch data for comparison.Match information was then exported toProZone’s Trend Database application,which allowed the comparative multi-gameanalysis of the 34-game dataset. Additionaltechnical data was exported from ProZone’scentralised Trend Database, and the followingbenchmarking comparisons concluded:1. 17 Dutch games played on natural grassturf Vs 17 Dutch games played on FootballTurf: Team and individual averages.2. 17 Dutch games played on natural grassturf Vs 17 Dutch games played on FootballTurf: Positional comparison.3. League and competition benchmarking:Dutch Eredivisie, Champions League(combined with UEFA Cup data – as perthe previous Study 2), UEFA Cup and FAPremier League.Results/DiscussionEffective playing timeOverall analysis of the data shows thateffective playing time (ball in-play duration)was not affected by the playingsurface (51 minutes 02 seconds – 55 % –on Football Turf Vs 51 minutes 37 seconds– 55 % – on natural grass). Althoughthe effective playing time in the DutchEredivise is slightly lower than previouslyreported in the Champions League andUEFA Cup games (59 %), no significantdifferences were found between the ballin play duration in games played on grassturf and Football Turf in the present study.Tactical analysisOnly very minor variations were reportedfor the frequency of player and team eventsfrom games played on natural grass andFootball Turf within the tactical analysis.The average number of tackles made inDutch football was slightly higher thanreported in the previous study involvingChampions League and UEFA cup matches31


TECHNICAL STUDY 3(approximately 33 per team per matchVs 28 per team per match), although theplaying surface did not seem to affectthe frequency of tackles per match in thisstudy. On Football Turf the team matchtotal was 30.29 equating to a player averageof 3.11 per match, while the figureson grass turf were 33.88 and 3.40, respectively.Although slightly more tackles werereported per match on grass, the findingscompliment the previous two ProZonestudies, which also reported similar numbersof tackles performed on both FootballTurf and natural grass surfaces (study 1;22 Vs 22 and study 2; 28 Vs 28 per teamper match).In the present study, tackles were furtheranalysed by categorising into ‘ground’and ‘standing’ tackles in an attempt todetermine whether the type of surfaceaffected whether players were moreinclined to stay on their feet or slide intotackles when challenging for the ball. Fromthe 30 team tackles reported on averageper match on Football Turf, 87 % (26 intotal) were standing while 13 % (4) wereground tackles. On grass, the number ofground tackles is slightly higher (22 % ofthe total tackles made).Despite reporting more ground tackleson grass, the average number of foulsawarded to teams on Football Turf (17.65)and grass (17.94) were almost identical.In keeping with the findings from theearlier two studies, however, there weremore yellow cards reported per matchon grass (2.06 Vs 1.59 per team). Thiswould suggest that officials are likely toaward a similar number of free kicksto teams for standing and ground tackles,although more likely to punish groundtackles with bookings. The fewer groundtackles reported on Football Turf couldbe of interest when looking at the relationshipbetween playing surface andthe incidence, nature, and causes of injuries.More research is required.Similar numbers of blocks were reportedon Football Turf and natural grass (1.42Vs 1.34 on average per player per game).Unlike the previous study (which found thatteams performed 20 more interceptionson average per game on Football Turf) thefrequency of interceptions reported onfootball and grass surfaces in this studywere very similar (141 Vs 138 respectively).It was suggested in the last study, thatFootball Turf might lead to more transitionsof possession due to the higher numberof interceptions and possession lossesreported. Having analysed a larger numberof games, we can however see that thisdoes not appear to be the case, with 244Vs 243 occasions where teams regainedpossession of the ball on grass and FootballTurf respectively. These figures thereforesuggest that the playing surface does notaffect the number of possession transitionsin a game, and the differences foundpreviously are likely to be the result of thespecific games analysed and the smallersample size.The average number of headers per teamper match was almost identical for FootballTurf (75.59) and grass (76.18).The data reported in the previous ChampionsLeague and UEFA Cup study (Study 2) hadsuggested that Football Turf may producemore headers per match than grass surfaces(68 Vs 56 per team per match respectively),although the findings of the present studydemonstrate that the pitch surface does notaffect the frequency of headers that playersneed to perform during matches.The average number of dribbles performedper team, coupled with average touchesper possession, will provide key objectiveinformation for ball-player interaction andtherefore comparisons of Football Turf andnatural grass playing surfaces. We can seefrom the data, that on average slightlymore dribbles were performed by teamson grass than on Football Turf (6.76 Vs 5.82respectively), whereas the average numberof touches per possession per player werealmost identical on grass and Football Turf(2.59 Vs 2.60). It therefore appears thatplayers are equally as comfortable on eitherplaying surface in terms of controllingand releasing the ball. The slightly higherinclination of players to dribble onnatural grass, may be linked to the higherfrequency of passes reported on FootballTurf and discussed in more detail below.Passing analysisThe most significant finding in the presentstudy, was the higher incidence of passesattempted on Football Turf comparedto natural grass, and the benchmarkfor the Dutch Eredivisie (an average of308 Vs 270 Vs 274 passes per team pergame respectively). Therefore, it could becontended that Football Turf encouragesa greater passing style of play (the fewerdribbles and clearances reported onFootball Turf compared with grass in thisstudy would suggest that passing is thepreferred player action on Football Turf).This could indeed be the case, althoughcaution must be exercised when analysingthis data, as the findings may also correlateto the standard and playing styles of therespective home teams (FC Utrecht and32


TECHNICAL STUDY 3SC Heracles Almelo) in this study. This possibility(that the standard of the hometeams will directly affect the data reportedby the away teams) is a potential limitationin this study, and discussed in greaterdetail later. To reduce the chances of thislimitation, this paper will analyse passingpatterns in more detail as percentages ofthe total passing frequency.The playing surface did not affect passingsuccess rates, with 76 % success reportby teams who played on Football Turf and75 % by teams on grass. These findingsfor Dutch football are slightly lower thanthe benchmarks from the UEFA Cup(79 %), Champions League & UEFA Cupcombined (82 %) and FA Premier League(78 %), but suggest that the type ofplaying surface does not affect player’sability to successfully find a team-mate.There were more forwards (147 Vs 135),backwards (72 Vs 62) and sideways(89 Vs 74) passing on Football Turf. As apercentage of the total passing on FootballTurf and natural grass, this represented48 % Vs 50 % forwards, 23 % Vs 23 %backwards, 29 % Vs 27 % sidewaysrespectively. Therefore, we can see theteams in this study were either slightlymore direct or positive in their passingon grass, whereas teams on Football Turfdemonstrated a slightly higher tendencyto play sideways and switch play, orperhaps even be more patient in theirattacking approach. Interestingly, whenteams did pass forwards on FootballTurf higher success rates were reported(65 % Vs 60 %), demonstrating the effectivenessof this playing approach andperhaps how Football Turf facilitatesmore successful forward passing.Diagram 1: Example of successful forward (blue) andunsuccessful (red) passing by an away team on naturalgrass in a matchDiagram 2: Example of successful sideways (blue) andunsuccessful (red) passing by an away team on FootballTurf in a matchAs with the previous Champions Leagueand UEFA Cup studies, players on FootballTurf attempted more passes in their ownhalf than players who played on a grasssurface (an average of 16.35 Vs 13.65 perplayer per match, which equates to 56 %Vs 54 % of their total respective passes).This underscores the fact that fewer forwardpasses were recorded on Football Turf,and also infers that teams who play on thissurface may defend deeper and enjoypossession for longer periods (hence greaterpassing frequency).In terms of a passing distance, there wereslightly more long balls (>25 m) played onFootball Turf than on natural grass (onaverage 85 Vs 70 per team per match, 28 %Vs 26 % of total passing) and also moremedium (10 – 25 m) passes (158 Vs 135 or51 % Vs 50 %). Interestingly, and in contrastto the previous study, the teams showed agreater tendency to play more short passes(


TECHNICAL STUDY 3possibility that players are able to makea cleaner contact with the ball whenplaying on Football Turf and hence ensurea more penetrative shot.Diagram 3: Example of penalty area entriesattempted in a match by an away team on naturalgrass in a matchDiagram 4: Example of penalty area entries attemptedin a match by an away team on Football TurfThe goal versus shot ratio from the presentstudy, shows that on Football Turf, teamsare likely to score a goal every 12 shots,whereas on grass a team would needto attempt over 20 shots per game. Thereasoning behind this large differencecould be the varying standard of thehome team’s goalkeeper and defenders(a contention further supported by thefact that there were actually more effortson target on grass, 52 % Vs 41 %).However, it could also imply a uniqueand unexpected ball-ground interactionon Football Turf for shots that bouncebefore the goalkeeper attempts a save.In addition, it may also allude to theUpon further analysis it can be seen that,of the shots attempted on Football Turf,a slightly larger amount were taken fromoutside the box as opposed to inside(on average, 6.71 Vs 6.41 respectively).Conversely, shots attempted on a grasssurface were mainly attempted inside thebox (on average, 6.47 Vs 5.53 respectively).The findings suggest that players may feelmore confident in taking more long-rangeshots on Football Turf, although it couldbe due to how high up the pitch FC Utrechtand SC Heracles Almelo defended on grassand natural turf respectively. For example thehigher incidence of offside decisions reportedon grass (3.12 Vs 2.94 per team permatch) would suggest that FC Utrechtwere defending higher up the pitch andattempting to catch the opposition offside.Similarly, if SC Heracles Almelo weredefending deep, this would explain thefewer offside decisions in the Football Turfmatches, and more shots from outsidethe penalty area.Diagram 5: Example of shots attempted in a matchby an away team on Football TurfDiagram 6: Example of shots attempted in a match byan away team on Football TurfThe number of shots per team and gamein Dutch football (13 on average) wereidentical to the number reported in otherleagues and competitions (13 UEFA CupVs 13 in Champions League and UEFA Cupcombined Vs 13 in the FA Premier League).More crosses were delivered on FootballTurf than on grass (on average, 12 Vs 11 perteam per match). This finding is in contrastto the crossing analysis in the previoustwo studies where more crosses were performedon grass (13 Vs 12). Given that thedifference is minimal, and having analyseda greater number of matches, we canconclude that the type of playing surfacewill not affect the frequency of crossesin matches. When all three studies to dateare collectively considered, it seems thatthe playing surface has little impact on theteam’s wide attacking play.Positional comparisons reveal that playersof varying positions exhibit similar performancecharacteristics on Football Turfand natural grass surfaces. Whereas inthe previous study, we saw that the wideplayers were generally more involvedin games played on grass – leading to thecontention that games on grass turf may34


TECHNICAL STUDY 3promote more wing play and a higher frequencyof crosses. No clear positionaldifferences were reported in the currentstudy. The wide players (left and rightmidfield) who performed on grass turfactually had slightly higher pass frequenciesthan players on Football Turf (left midfield25 Vs 23 and right midfield 29 Vs 26),although more crosses were reported bythese players on Football Turf (left midfield2.3 Vs 1.3 and right midfield 1.9 Vs 1.7).In all other positions, players performing onFootball Turf reported higher frequenciesof passing (than in the same position on agrass surface) in line with the higher totalteam average passing seen on Football Turfin this study (308 Vs 270).Possible limitationsDuring this study, all 34 sets of home teamperformances (17 FC Utrecht and 17 SCHeracles Almelo) were removed from thedataset to eliminate any perceived familiaritywith the playing surface. Only usingthe away team’s data led to a fair anddirect comparison, given that the same17 away teams played both at FC Utrechtand SC Heracles Almelo during the season.Of the 90 minutes players used for theindividual and positional average data,73 % of the players who played away atSC Heracles Almelo also played away atFC Utrecht.However, despite providing a strong tit-fortataway dataset for comparative analysis,it could be argued that the standard andplaying style (including formation) of therespective home teams could have directlyaffected the away team’s performancesand therefore the overall results. A look atthe final league ratings in the DutchEredivisie in the 2006 – 07 season, revealsthat FC Utrecht finished 9th while SC HeraclesAlmelo finished 14th, winning 11 and 7 oftheir home games respectively. This demonstratesthat the varying standard of thehome teams used in the study, is likely tohave affected the away team’s data (thiscould explain for example, the higher frequencyof passes, shots and goals by theaway teams playing at SC Heracles Almelo).Other possible limitations include the differentofficials used in the games and thetiming of the fixtures during the season(weather conditions, morale of the teamsand potential for fatigue during the season).ConclusionIn the third objective study involving ProZonetechnical data, the impact of Football Turfand a natural grass surface on the patternof football matches was considered.34 games from the Dutch Eredivisie wereanalysed using the ProZone MatchViewersystem (17 on Football Turf and 17 on naturalgrass) to ascertain whether the gamechanges on Football Turf. Various leagueand competition benchmarks were used asperformance norms for comparative purposes,and results were also related to thetwo previous ProZone studies undertakenin this area.In conclusion, this study reveals that:• Football Turf does not dramatically effectthe pattern of a football match, with clearsimilarities to data collated from gamesplayed on natural grass.• No significant differences were reportedin the “tactical analysis”, including thefrequency of dribbles, tackles, clearances,blocks and average touches per possession.• There were more ground tackles thanstanding tackles reported on naturalgrass, suggesting that players are moreinclined to stay on their feet on FootballTurf. This may also explain the highernumber of fouls, yellow cards and redcards reported on grass.• Contrary to previous study (ChampionsLeague and UEFA Cup football), therewas also no notable difference in thenumber of possession transitions andinterceptions reported in games.• There was a higher frequency of passesattempted and received on Football Turf,although it is suggested that this mayalso have be linked to the standard ofthe respective home team opponents.• No notable differences were observedin terms of the passing success rates;and forward, backwards and sidewayspassing or short, medium and longpasses (as a percentage of the totalteam pass frequency).• Football Turf surfaces seemed to encouragea higher incidence of attackingplay (including more final third entries,penalty area entries, shots and goals),although this could also be associatedwith the respective standard of the hometeams, who experienced varying successduring the season.• In-depth positional analysis revealedno differences in playing characteristicsfor defenders, midfielders or attackingplayers.35


TECHNICAL STUDY 3The third investigation involving objectiveProZone analysis, provides further independenttechnical and tactical informationon playing patterns exhibited by teamson Football Turf and natural grass, whichwill influence future implementation ofFIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turfsurfaces. Additional factors such as thestandard of the home teams; the strategyof the away teams (e.g. formations utilised)and approach of the officials mayalso have affected the data. Therefore itis recommended that additional quantitativeresearch – incorporating additionalcomparative data from games on FootballTurf and natural grass – should be undertaken.For full results tables and definitionsplease visit www.FIFA.com or contactfootball.turf@fifa.orgMain Events Table comparing the per match individual and total team averagefor games played on natural grass turf and football turfGrassFootball TurfTactical Overview Individual Team Team IndividualTotal Headers 7.61 76.18 75.59 8.04Tackles 3.40 33.88 30.29 3.11Fouls 1.60 17.94 17.65 1.68Blocks 1.42 15.00 13.29 1.34Interceptions 13.90 137.76 141.12 14.37Clearances 2.87 31.12 27.47 2.55Possession Won 22.53 244.18 243.00 22.92Possession Lost 23.46 257.59 260.12 24.66Average Number Touches 2.59 NA NA 2.60Dribbles 0.70 6.76 5.82 0.49Passing OverviewTotal Passes 26.20 270 308 29.97Successful Passes 19.77 204 237 23.04Unsuccessful Passes 6.43 66 71 6.93Total Pass Completion % 75% 75% 76% 77%Balls Received 29.30 310 349 33.03Passes Forwards 12.78 135 147 14.13Passes Backwards 6.18 62 72 6.86Passes Sideways 7.25 74 89 8.98Pass Attempted Own Half 13.65 145 171 16.35Passes Attempted in Opposition Half 12.55 126 137 12.88Total No Short Passes 4.85 66 65 6.14Total No Medium Passes 13.30 135 158 14.90Total No Long Passes 6.53 70 85 8.19Attacking OverviewGoals 0.04 0.59 1.12 0.07Total Number of Shots 1.18 12.00 13.12 1.28Shooting Accuracy 50.34% 50.52% 47.09% 37.50%Final Third Entries 6.23 65.12 67.18 6.47Penalty Area Entries 3.15 35.12 38.65 3.35Total Corners 0.39 4.29 5.00 0.47Crosses 1.03 11.41 12.12 0.98Offsides 0.26 3.12 2.94 0.2236


TECHNICAL STUDY 4Technical Study 4A comparative performanceanalysis of gamesplayed on Football Turfand natural grass surfacesfrom the evaluationof games playedduring the FIFA U-20World Cup Canada 2007.IntroductionThe FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada providedan ideal opportunity to further the technicalanalysis research into whether the gamechanges on Football Turf. Three previousstudies involving ProZone analysis, foundthat playing patterns do not significantlychange when teams compete on FIFARECOMMENDED 2 STAR Football Turf asopposed to natural grass surfaces.Research to date has focused on elite men’sclub football, with a total of 48 gamesanalysed from the UEFA Cup, ChampionsLeague and Dutch Eredivisie. Few differenceshave been observed in terms of player,team and positional variations, althoughit was concluded during the previousstudy, that greater critical mass wouldenable us to achieve more confidence inthe data.The FIFA U-20 World Cup provided uswith a unique opportunity to analyse an additional52 international football matchesand further explore the fundamental question:Does the game change on FootballTurf?AimThe aim of this fourth study, is to furtheranalyse the potential impact that FootballTurf may have on the pattern of the gameand performance. Furthermore, it shouldprovide an objective feedback concerningthe use of Football Turf playing surfacesin football.MethodsData was collated from the FIFA U-20 WorldCup matches played in Canada in 2007.During the tournament, games were playedat six different locations; Toronto, Montreal,Ottawa, Burnaby, Victoria and Edmonton.Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium, Montreal’sOlympic Stadium and Ottawa’s Frank ClairStadium all housed FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf, while the SwangardStadium (Burnaby), the CommonwealthStadium (Edmonton) and Royal Athletic Park(Victoria) all had natural grass playingsurfaces.Of the 52 games, 29 were played on FootballTurf and 23 were played on naturalgrass. In total, 104 teams and 1433 playerswere analysed in the study (796 players onFootball Turf and 637 players on natural grass).Only data gathered in normal playing time(no extra time or penalties) was used in thestudy and the team, individual and playingposition results were averaged for a directand fair comparison between performanceson Football Turf and natural grass playingsurfaces. Only players who competed for90 minutes were included in the individualand positional average data.Match information was then exported toProZone’s Trend Database application,which allowed the multi-game comparativeanalysis of the 52-game dataset.Additional technical data was also exportedfrom ProZone’s centralised Trend Database,permitting the following benchmarkconclusions:1. 23 FIFA U-20 World Cup games playedon natural grass turf Vs 29 FIFA U-20games played on Football Turf: Teamand individual averages.2. 23 FIFA U-20 World Cup games playedon natural grass turf Vs 29 FIFA U-20games played on Football Turf: Positionalcomparison.3. Previous study benchmarking: DutchEredivisie, Champions League (combinedwith UEFA Cup data – as per the previousStudy 2) and UEFA Cup.4. Additional benchmarking: FA PremierLeague Academy averages.DiscussionEffective playing timeThe average effective playing time (ball inplayduration) during tournament matcheswas 56 %, which is similar to the figurereported in previous studies. Overall analysisof the data shows that effective playingtime was not affected by the playing surface(52 minutes 0 seconds – 55% – on FootballTurf Vs 52 minutes 29 seconds – 56 % – onnatural grass). This data, coupled with thefindings from the previous studies, demonstratesthat the effective playing time isnot affected by the playing surface and that,on average, the ball is in play for the sameduration on either Football Turf and naturalgrass.Tactical analysisAs with the previous study (Dutch football),only few differences were reported concerningthe frequency of player and teamevents from tournament games played onnatural grass and Football Turf.The average number of tackles made duringthe tournament (30 per team per match)was in line with the benchmarks previouslyreported. Objective match data regarding37


TECHNICAL STUDY 4the relative frequency of tackles in gamesplayed on Football Turf and natural grasssurfaces is vital, given the perceivedrelationship concerning incidences of injuryin games. However, uniquely in this reportthere were more tackles reported byplayers on Football Turf than on grass(32 Vs 27 on average). During the previousDutch study, we saw that games playedon natural grass produced a higher incidenceof tackles during games, hence leadingto the assumption that players may be morelikely to stay on their feet on Football Turfbut commit to more challenges on grass.However, the findings from the presentstudy, do not appear to support this theory,and the younger players who competedduring the FIFA U-20 World Cup appearedequally – if not more – prepared to challengefor the ball on Football Turf.The findings could of course also be attributedto the tactics and playing patternsof the respective teams who played onFootball Turf and natural grass, as wellas incidences of other player‘s associatedactions during games.Tackles were again analysed in more depth– by categorising into “ground” and“standing” tackles – in an effort to determinewhether the playing surface affectedthe type of challenge players attempted ingames. In accordance with the findingsfrom Study 3, we saw that teams playingon both grass and Football Turf reporteda greater inclination towards standing tacklesrather than ground tackles (80% Vs 20%of the total number of team tackles onFootball Turf and 75 % Vs 25 % on grassrespectively). The data suggests, thatalthough players are more likely to performground tackles (for example slidingchallenges) on natural grass, Football Turfdoes not seem to discourage players fromchallenging for the ball on the ground.Interestingly, despite the higher incidenceof ground tackles reported on grass, thenumber of fouls committed by teams washigher on Football Turf (17.09 on averageper team per match Vs 14.91 on natural grasspitches) – and we can therefore concludethat there were also more fouls committedin the defending third (4.47 Vs 3.87) andsubsequently more yellow cards awarded(2.57 Vs 1.96) on Football Turf. Thesefindings contradict the previous technicalstudies that all reported a higher incidenceof fouls and yellow cards on grass, leadingto the contention that this may have beenrelated to the incidence of ground tackleson grass (22% of total tackles Vs 13% onFootball Turf) and perceivably the official’sinclination to punish such challenges. Thishowever, does not appear to be the caseduring the present study and thereforewe can conclude, that although the typeof playing surface may affect the typeof challenge attempted by players, thenumber of fouls committed remains similar.Once again, the frequency of interceptions(131 Vs 128 per team per match) andincidence of blocks (1.13 Vs 1.17 on averageper player per game) reported on FootballTurf and natural grass were very similar.The number of possession transitions (wonand lost possession of the ball) was almostidentical (an average of 238.37 Vs 238.41occasions where possession was regainedby teams playing on natural grass andFootball Turf respectively). Following theanalysis of Champions League Football(Study 2) it had been contended that FootballTurf might lead to more transitions ofpossession through a greater incidence ofinterceptions and possession losses.This could be critical to the future implementationof Football Turf surfaces, giventhat many top coaches believe that gamesare won or lost on the basis of a team’sability to retain or regain possession ofthe ball. The current findings – combinedwith the data reported from the previousstudy – suggest that the type of playingsurface does not affect this facet of thegame.Diagram 1: Example of possession regains by a teamplaying on Football TurfDiagram 2: Example of possession regains by a teamplaying on natural grass38


TECHNICAL STUDY 4The frequency of headers (on average62 per team per game) was generally lowerthan we saw in the previous study (Dutchfootball reported an average of 76 on bothnatural grass and Football Turf), suggestingthat these younger players kept the ball onthe ground for longer periods during games.In terms of the playing surface comparison,slightly higher numbers of headers werewitnessed in games played on natural grass(64 per team per game Vs 60). Althoughnot a significant finding, this data is neverthelessinteresting, given that one of the previousstudies suggested that teams wererequired to head the ball more on FootballTurf (68 Vs 56 header per team per matchin Study 2; Champions League football).The data reported in the previous and currentreport, would suggest that the playingsurface does not affect the requirement onplayers to perform headers during matches.One of the key performance indicatorsanalysed throughout all previous technicalresearch studies, has been a player’saverage number of touches per possessionper game. It is maintained that this datawill provide crucial information on playerballinteraction (for example, a player’sability to control the ball) on natural grassand Football Turf playing surfaces. Theaverage number of touches per possessionper player was almost identical on grassand Football Turf (2.71 Vs 2.70). Coupledwith the findings from the previous study(2.59 Vs 2.60), we can conclude that playersare equally comfortable with the ball attheir feet on either playing surface.Passing analysisAs with the previous study, the frequencyof passes attempted on Football Turfwas higher than on natural grass (296 Vs 282on average per team per match). It wascontended during the previous report, thatthe higher rate of passing frequency fromthe away teams analysed on FootballTurf (308 Vs 270) may have been directlylinked to the standard of the home team.It appears however, that although the differencewas not as profound as reportedin the Dutch football analysis, there seemsto be a continuity throughout the variousstudies, suggesting that Football Turfencourages teams to attempt more passes.Once again, the playing surface did notaffect passing success rates, with 78 %success reported by teams in the tournament,regardless of the playing surface.This finding tells us that, firstly, the standardof passing in the tournament wascomparable to the performance benchmarksalready reported in previousstudies (Dutch Football: 76 %, UEFA Cup:79 %, Champions League & UEFA Cupcombined: 82 % and FA Premier League:78 %). Secondly, and more significantfor the purpose of this study, the findingsalso tell us that the type of playingsurface does not affect player’s abilityto successfully pass to a team-mate.There were more forwards (140 Vs 130),backwards (58 Vs 57) and sideways (98Vs 91) passing on Football Turf, whichis a reflection of the greater frequency ofpasses reported generally. As a percentageof the total passing on Football Turfand natural grass, this represented 47.2%Vs 46.1 % passes forwards, 19.6 %Vs 20.3% backwards and 33.2% Vs 32.4%sideways respectively. These tendenciesare similar to the findings reported in Dutchfootball (Study 3) and suggest that playerswho play on Football Turf are more likelyto employ a positive or direct style of play(the relative success rates of forward passing– 67 % on grass and 66 % on FootballTurf – suggest it could be the latter, althoughthe difference is not significant). The greaterinclination of players to pass sideways onFootball Turf demonstrates continuitybetween the previous studies, which alsosuggest that teams may seek to switchplay as part of their attacking build up moreso than teams who play on natural grass.Once again the differences reported in thedirection of passing during the tournamentwere minimal and suggests that the gamedoes not change dramatically when teamsplay on Football Turf surfaces.For the fourth successive study, morepasses were attempted by teams in theirown half on Football Turf (an average of161 Vs 154 per team per match). Uponinitial inspection this data would suggestthat teams who play on Football Turfmay defend deeper and enjoy possessionfor longer periods during games (hencethe greater pass frequency reported on FootballTurf). As a percentage of the totalpasses attempted, however, those attemptedin a team’s own half represents 54% of thetotal for both playing surfaces, therefore demonstratingthat – although we can expectto see a higher frequency of passes generallyon Football Turf – this does not affectthe game in terms of where passes emanatefrom (46 % percent of passes on bothplaying surfaces were attempted in theopponent’s half of the field).In terms of a passing distance, there wereslightly more long balls (>25m) played onnatural grass (an average of 70 Vs 65 perteam per match, 24.6 % Vs 21.9 % of totalpassing), which contradicts the findings ofthe previous two studies that both reported39


TECHNICAL STUDY 4a greater number of long passes from teamson Football Turf. A similar variation was seenwith short passes (


TECHNICAL STUDY 4a closer look at the positional variations,shows that players who played on naturalgrass may have chosen to cross the ballrather than pass or dribble; left midfielders,for example, on average crossed the ballon 2.14 occasions on Football Turf comparedto 3.18 on natural grass. However, morepasses and dribbles were reported by leftmidfielders on Football Turf (27.27 Vs 25.12passes and 1.38 Vs 0.97 dribbles on averagerespectively).Centre midfielders generally had higher passfrequencies on Football Turf (42 Vs 35 onaverage per game), as a direct consequenceof receiving more balls in matches (40 Vs 35on average per game). The passing successrates were slightly higher on Football Turf(81 % Vs 80 %) and generally higher thanseen in FA Premier League academy football.Appendix 3 summarises the positionalcomparison undertaken, and reveals verysimilar findings for all playing positions. Wecan therefore conclude that the type ofplaying surface does not affect positionalplaying characteristics exhibited in games.Possible limitaionsThe FIFA U-20 World Cup gave us the perfectopportunity to further analyse whetherthe game changes on Football Turf.29 games played in three Football Turf stadiumswere compared with 23 games playedon natural grass in three other stadiums.This not only provided us the largest singledataset to date (52 matches), but alsoeliminated any perceived home bias (a potentialrisk in the previous study) asthe games were international tournamentmatches played at neutral stadiums.However, due to tournament logistics andthe luck of the draw, certain teams ofvarying standard would have played moregames on Football Turf than on natural grass(and vice versa), which arguably limits theeffectiveness of the study. It is neverthelessexpected, that given the large numberof games, any potential anomalies wouldeven out over the total dataset.Other possible limitations include the differentofficials used in the games, the standardof the opposition (including formationutilised) and the timing of the matches(kick-off time and rest period between games).ConclusionIn the fourth objective study involvingProZone technical data, the impact of FootballTurf and natural grass surfaces on thepattern of football matches was considered.52 games from the FIFA U-20 WorldCup were analysed using the ProZoneMatchViewer system (29 on Football Turfand 23 on natural grass) to ascertainwhether the game changes on FootballTurf. The findings from the current tournamentdataset were also compared tothose of the set of the three previousstudies.In conclusion, the current findingsreveal that• Football Turf does not dramaticallyeffect the pattern of a football match,and the collective data reveals clearsimilarities to that of tournament gamesplayed on natural grass.• The effective (ball in play) playing time fortournament matches was very similaron Football Turf and grass (55–56% ofthe game on average).• Although subtle differences were observedwith certain variations in the “tacticalanalysis”, the majority of variations (includinga player’s average number oftouches per possession) reported similarfindings.• As with the previous (Dutch football)study, in which tackles were analysedin more depth, players were moreinclined to perform ground tackles ongrass surfaces (1 in 4 challenges Vs 1in 5 on Football Turf), although this didnot correlate to the number of foulsand yellow cards awarded (which weregreater on Football Turf).• Contrary to the initial studies (UEFAChampions League and UEFA Cup), yetin accordance with the previous study,there were also no notable differencesin the number of possession transitionsand interceptions reported in tournamentgames.• There was a higher frequency of attemptedpasses and balls received onFootball Turf, so we can concludethat this may be a feature of matchesplayed on Football Turf surfaces (havingreported similar findings previously).• No notable differences were observedin terms of the passing success rates;and only minor differences were reportedin the analysis of passing direction andpassing distance. So, although passfrequencies on Football Turf are slightlyhigher, it seems that the type of passesexecuted by players does not change.• Contrary to the previous research, in thisspecific study, natural grass surfacesseemed to encourage a higher incidenceof attacking play (including more final41


TECHNICAL STUDY 4third entries, penalty area entries andcrosses), although this did not affectthe number of shots and goals reportedon each playing surface.• Despite centre midfielders enjoying morepossession of the ball on Football Turfin this tournament, an in-depth positionalanalysis reveals no significant differencesin the playing characteristics of defenders,midfielders or attacking players.• The fourth investigation involving objectiveProZone analysis, provides furtherindependent technical and tactical informationon playing patterns exhibitedby teams on Football Turf and naturalgrass, which will influence future implementationof FIFA RECOMMENDED2 STAR Football Turf surfaces.Additional factors such as the influenceof the officials, the strategy and formationof the individual teams and the timingof the matches (kick-off time and restperiods between tournament matches)may also have affected the results.However, having comprehensivelyanalysed 100 matches from a technicalperspective, we can assume that theeffect of such external influences wouldhave been diminished.For full results tables and definitions pleasevisit www.FIFA.com or contactfootball.turf@fifa.orgMain Events Table comparing the per match individual and total team averagefor games played on natural grass turf and football turfGrassFootball TurfTactical Overview Individual Team Team IndividualTotal Headers 4.64 63.98 60.00 4.37Tackles 2.64 26.57 32.36 3.39Fouls 1.08 14.91 17.09 1.24Blocks 1.17 16.20 15.45 1.13Interceptions 9.26 128.04 131.12 9.55Clearances 1.80 24.91 24.09 1.76Possession Won 17.21 238.37 238.41 17.37Possession Lost 18.18 251.02 253.38 18.46Average Number Touches 2.71 NA NA 2.70Dribbles 0.33 4.61 5.67 0.41Passing OverviewTotal Passes 20.43 282 296 21.53Successful Passes 15.90 220 231 16.80Unsuccessful Passes 4.53 63 65 4.73Total Pass Completion % 78% 78% 78% 78 %Balls Received 23.14 319 330 24.04Passes Forwards 9.65 134 140 10.17Passes Backwards 4.17 57 58 4.21Passes Sideways 6.61 91 98 7.15Pass Attempted Own Half 11.11 154 161 11.73Passes Attempted in Opposition Half 9.32 129 135 9.81Total No Short Passes 4.12 73 83 6.05Total No Medium Passes 10.12 140 148 10.76Total No Long Passes 5.02 70 65 4.73Attacking OverviewGoals 0.08 1.20 1.19 0.09Total Number of Shots 1.05 14.48 14.79 1.08Shooting Accuracy 41% 41 % 45 % 45 %Final Third Entries 4.89 67.91 64.02 4.66Penalty Area Entries 2.88 31.74 29.40 2.65Total Corners 0.40 5.39 5.48 0.40Crosses 0.96 13.09 10.31 0.75Offsides 0.16 2.26 1.81 0.1342


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